Toyota, BMW Increase Investment in May Mobility
May Mobility Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based developer of self-driving shuttles, says it has raised $50 million in a new funding round led by Toyota Motor Corp.
Toyota’s AI Ventures capital arm and BMW AG’s iVentures, both of which previously invested in May Mobility, also participated in the Series B round. May Mobility now has raised nearly $84 million since it was founded in early 2017.
The new funding will go toward engineering, development and expanded real-world testing of May Mobility’s self-driving shuttle van. The company, which recently concluded a program in Ohio, currently operates pilot programs in Michigan and Rhode Island. Toyota’s investment also could lead to testing in Japan and new cooperative ventures, according to the companies.
May Mobility says it has provided more than 170,000 revenue-generating rides through the various initiatives. The company aims to triple its current shuttle fleet, which uses autonomous driving technology from Canada’s Magna International Inc., to 75 vehicles next year.
Chinese electric-car startup Nio Inc. is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co., which is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the business.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.