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A U of Michigan start-up is getting a lot of attention (and funding) for its self-driving shuttles

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 10th, 2018

While the big automakers fall all over themselves to gain an advantage in the driverless vehicle market, a small University of Michigan (U-M) start-up has already lapped them, testing its driverless shuttles on the streets of Detroit, and it doesn’t plan on stopping there.

May Mobility recently licensed five U-M technologies related to autonomous driving that will help the company build a fleet of self-driving public transit vehicles planned for use in business districts, college campuses, medical facilities and other communities across the U.S.

May Mobility has already secured $11.6 million in funding from private sources as well as local and Silicon Valley VC funds including Maven, Tandem Capital and Trucks Venture Capital.

“Our leadership in the autonomous vehicle space is driven by unique technology that gives us an advantage over our competition,” says Edwin Olson, a U-M associate professor in computer science and engineering and CEO of May Mobility. “It’s a good demonstration of how academia and industry can work together.”

The start-up aims to double its staff of 15 in the next year. Bryce Pilz, director of licensing at U-M Tech Transfer, says having those kinds of autonomous vehicle jobs in Ann Arbor, not Silicon Valley, is huge.

“The autonomous vehicle field marries two sectors — the auto sector that started here and the tech space that is perceived as being on the West Coast,” says Pilz. “Both hotbeds are competing to be at the center of autonomous vehicle development. May Mobility — using cutting-edge tech and tapping into the heritage of the auto industry — can create a lot of good jobs and attract people to Michigan.”

Source: Michigan News

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