May Mobility yesterday said it has closed a Series C funding round of $111 million. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company said it plans to continue deployment programs using the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS platform, named for autonomous mobility as a service. May Mobility also plans to begin development of the Toyota e-Palette vehicle.
“With the close of this latest investment round, May Mobility will continue to accelerate growth in our technology, business development, and platforms, all with a global reach,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “Our additional investors, as well as our continued strategic collaboration with Toyota and others, will enable us to march toward driver-out commercial operations in 2023 and enable our expansion into new markets as we roll out more Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles now and look to next-generation platforms, such as the e-Palette.”
Founded in 2017, May Mobility said its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system is at the core of its mission to help make cities “safer, greener, and more accessible.” MPDM has delivered more than 320,000 autonomy-enabled rides to date in several public-transit applications across the U.S. and Japan.
May Mobility continues Toyota partnership
May Mobility is continuing to work with partners including Toyota Motor Corp. The companies have tested and demonstrated Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicles in Ann Arbor and said they anticipate other public deployment locations in late 2022. The program also features an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant up-fit through a partnership with wheelchair maker BraunAbility.
In addition, May Mobility has begun incorporating its autonomous driving kit (ADK) onto the Toyota e-Palette, a battery-electric vehicle platform. The company said it offers greater rider capacity and the expansion of more efficient transit services. May Mobility said it hopes to ultimately reduce traffic and the need for parking lots and garages, creating more livable green space.
“We are already seeing the benefits of using Toyota's Sienna Autono-MaaS vehicle platform as it was designed from the ground up to interface with computers,” said Olson. “We look forward to future discussions on the use of Toyota's e-Palette as an exciting opportunity to set new milestones as we transform mobility with an autonomous, electric vehicle platform.”
May Mobility has also worked with partners to encourage the adoption of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology in the business-to-government and business-to-business sectors. In addition to its previously announced program with Bridgestone, May Mobility is working on a project with MONET Technologies and SoftBank for an international route in Tokyo.
Investors support 'driver-out' operations
May Mobility said its Series C round brings its total funding to date to $194 million. The company said it plans to increase its engineering headcount, expand its global customer base, enhance rider experiences, and further invest in technology advancements.
“With this round of funding, May Mobility has doubled down on its commitment to driver-out operations in 2023,” it said.
SPARX Group Co.'s Mirai Creation Fund II led the round alongside Tokio Marine, Toyota Tsusho, and Bridgestone Americas. SoftBank, State Farm Ventures, Next Century Ventures, SAIC, Wanxiang, Karma, and 10x Group joined May Mobility's supporters.
Returning investors included Toyota Ventures, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Cyrus Capital Partners, LG Technology Ventures, and Maven Ventures.
Insurance industry supports AVs for safety
Joining Tokio Marine, State Farm Ventures participated in May Mobility's Series C round, becoming one of the first U.S.-based insurers to invest in AVs. The company said the investment indicates the insurance industry's growing support for AV operations to reduce road accidents.
“The insurance industry sees the future of mobility and is recognizing the importance of helping to design the way insurance will support autonomous vehicles in the future,” said Ryan Green, chief financial officer of May Mobility. “Having partners like Tokio Marine and State Farm Ventures helps expedite that vision for the future of mobility.”
State Farm Ventures said it is a leading U.S. automotive insurer that seeks to invest in innovative technologies, services, and capabilities that improve vehicle and pedestrian safety.
“May Mobility's technology is a potential compelling advancement in the evolution of autonomous driving and may help to reduce accidents and improve road safety,” said Michael Remmes, vice president at State Farm Ventures.