When it comes to autonomous automobiles, you can move things or people without drivers. The tech world has already seen Starship technologies and several other delivery robots carrying logistics deliveries, but May Mobility is all about moving people autonomously.
Founded by Edwin Olson, this Toyota and BMW AG-backed self-driving shuttle startup has now picked up $83 million in its largest funding round to date.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company’s funding was led by Mirai Creation Fund II – a SPARX Group Co., Ltd. ( a fund that is renowned for supporting high-growth, high-tech companies and has made 76 investments to date). There were also new investors including Tokio Marine and Toyota Tsusho, along with returning investors Toyota Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Cyrus Capital Partners, 1843 Capital, BMW i Ventures and Bay Lake Ventures.
The funding will help May Mobility deploy its autonomous vehicle technology on Toyota’s autonomous-ready platforms, including the Sienna Autono-MaaS.
“With this initial Series C funding, our latest group of global strategic investment partners will enable us to rapidly deploy our technology on Toyota’s autonomous-ready platforms, including the Sienna Autono-MaaS,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “We will continue to challenge the status quo of transit by reshaping the future of the AV industry.”
A fully autonomous future
Already operating its 25 vehicles in nine cities, including Arlington, Texas, and Hiroshima, Japan — the firm has raised $166 million in total and has provided more than 300,000 revenue-generating rides.
The latest funding round is also set to help the company increase its engineering headcount, expand its global customer pool, enhance rider experiences and further invest in technology advancements, including driver-out operations in 2023.
“Automated vehicles will play a significant role in addressing urgent social issues such as environmental problems, aging infrastructure, and labour shortages. May Mobility is engaged in research and deployments aimed at the implementation of automated driving technology that can be on the road today, not someday,” said Shuhei Abe, President of SPARX Group Co., Ltd. “With a strong partner in Toyota Motor Corporation, May Mobility has steadily grown its technology and business. Through the Mirai Creation Fund II, SPARX will support the growth of May Mobility to contribute to creating a brighter future together.”
In addition, this round of funding will enable May Mobility to continue its partnership with Toyota, working on future platforms and future public deployments of the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS equipped with May’s autonomous driving kit by 2023.
“We believe May Mobility’s latest investment round, led by Mirai Creation Fund II, is significant for the realisation of autonomous mobility as a service (Autono-MaaS*),” said Keiji Yamamoto, Operating Officer of Toyota and President of Connected Company. “Through our collaboration with May Mobility, including the Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle, Toyota continues to accelerate the implementation of Autono-MaaS as a platform to achieve our common dream: Mobility for All.”
“Our team is excited by this renewed commitment of existing investors, in addition to our new investment partners, to help solve the many challenges in bringing to life a safer, greener, more accessible world through autonomous mobility to communities,” said Ryan Green, who joined May as CFO in June 2021. “May is now poised for international expansion through this investment funding.”
May pledges on its low-speed shuttle services model, offering it to cities and businesses instead of following a robotaxi model followed by its counterparts like Waymo and Cruise. May Mobility’s most recent two deployments included Ann Arbor, Michigan, in October and Fishers, Indiana, in collaboration with Toyota Mobility Foundation in December.
Also, based on numerous reports, in 2022, May has plans to transform its fleet from hybrid Lexus SUVs to hybrid Toyota Sienna minivans.