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Self-Driving Vehicle Company, May Mobility, Could Redefine Fleets

| September 6, 2017


May Mobility has announced that it has completed a stint in Y Combinator, an elite startup accelerator in Silicon Valley, and is starting work on pilot projects for self-driving fleet technology.

May Mobility has raised about $3.5 million in venture funding from investors including Maven Ventures.

May Mobility is the brainchild of Ed Olson, a University of Michigan professor, researcher, and director of the university’s APRIL lab, which focuses on robot perception, coordination, and planning.

Although the group only has 15 employees, it is a autonomous fleet company offering an end-to-end mobility solution.

While big automakers like Ford and tech giants like Google and Uber are racing to create self-driving vehicles targeting consumers directly, some companies and startups are working on aftermarket technologies that could be used to implement a vision of shareable autonomous vehicles, in the form of fleets, taxis, and shuttles.

Ted Serbinski, who directs the Techstars Mobility program, believes that with self-driving vehicles, the definition of fleet will expand to mean simply more than one vehicle.

May Mobility claims that it has created a technology approach that could be an aftermarket installation to offer autonomy on existing vehicle platforms designed for fleet service. The company plans to oversee a full fleet operation service as well.

The average car owner doesn’t drive their vehicle all day long, so in an autonomous world, where shared ownership or leasing models become more prevalent, self-driving cars could be deployed by a fleet-as-a-service company, like May Mobility, rather than being sold to individual consumers.

Olson has identified central business districts, corporate campuses, and other small, compact areas with both public and private roads as the company’s primary market.

This fall, May Mobility will start two pilot projects in downtown Detroit and Warren, MI, along with two more in Florida. “In 2018, we’ll begin operations without a safety driver,” noted Olson.

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