BMW Invests in Self-Driving Shuttle Startup

A year after its launch, a Michigan-based startup shuttle company, May Mobility, is making big strides toward city shuttle autonomy with the help of BMW.

The startup’s mission is to connect communities through full-service self-driving fleets in controlled environments such as residential areas, corporate campuses, and business districts. The company has plans to launch commercial operations later this year.

"Vehicles and programs of all sorts are being announced or tested and trialed, but May Mobility is actually solving today's transportation issues with self-driving vehicles on real city streets today," Uwe Higgen, managing partner at BMW i Ventures, said in a statement. "We invested in the team because they're reducing the complexity of the problem to actually deliver autonomous mobility now, instead of years from now, and the feedback loop will be invaluable to the future of the industry."

May Mobility’s electric shuttles are designed to move along short routes that have been mapped inside of a 10-square-mile footprint. These “microbuses” operate at a cautious speed of 25 miles per hour and currently still function with a human monitor on board. When needed, sensors and car-readable “stickers” are installed along the shuttle routes to help the bus better understand and identify their environment and safely navigate through bad weather conditions, pedestrians, or other obstacles.

May Mobility’s goal has been to provide self-driving solutions that are practical on real routes, using current technology, and on defined shuttle paths. It’s clear to see why BMW sees the benefit in investing in this goal-driven company.

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