May Mobility Expansion Underscores Michigan’s Autonomous Vehicle Leadership

The Michigan Strategic Fund has awarded May Mobility in Ann Arbor a grant to help it expand its fleet of autonomous shuttles.
May Mobility autonomous shuttle
May Mobility in Ann Arbor has received a $700,000 Michigan Strategic Fund grant to expand its fleet of autonomous shuttles. / Photo courtesy of May Mobility

The Michigan Strategic Fund has awarded May Mobility in Ann Arbor a grant to help it expand its fleet of autonomous shuttles.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s MSF awarded May Mobility a $700,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant to enhance its autonomous vehicle shuttle fleet, a project that will generate a total private investment of $11.8 million and create 100 engineering and tech jobs in Ann Arbor.

“This latest investment reinforces Michigan’s reputation as the center for the automotive industry and a leader in future automotive technology, and we’re pleased to work with our local partners to support the expansion,” says Mark A. Burton, CEO of MEDC.

May Mobility Inc. was founded in 2017 and has since deployed autonomous shuttles in several cities across the U.S. including Detroit and Grand Rapids. It has done so by partnering with enterprises and municipalities to offer transportation services through its turnkey shuttle services. May Mobility’s shuttles complement public transportation by moving people between high-value points of interest within urban centers.

“With the support of the MEDC, May Mobility is able to grow our team during a crucial time in the race to develop safe, reliable autonomous technologies as we work to improve access to mobility solutions in cities across the country,” says Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility. “We are excited to work with MEDC to help make southeast Michigan not only a great place for the auto industry, but also a leader in autonomy.”

This planned growth aligns with several of MEDC’s strategic focus areas, including supporting a business in the target industry of mobility and fostering high-wage job growth. Ann Arbor SPARK has offered to assist the company in finding candidates for the new positions. For information on careers with May Mobility, visit here.

“Ann Arbor continues to attract leading mobility companies like May Mobility, proving that our region can serve as a living laboratory to test, validate and commercialize new technologies by delivering the resources those companies need to accelerate their growth,” says Paul Krutko, president and CEO of Ann Arbor SPARK.

In July 2019, MEDC’s mobility initiative teamed with May Mobility, the city of Grand Rapids, and nine Michigan companies to form the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative. Coordinated by Seamless, an innovation platform in Grand Rapids, the initiative placed May Mobility autonomous vehicles on Grand Rapids’ city streets to demonstrate civic infrastructure and operational capabilities of the AV market. The coalition – a first of its kind – brings together enterprise and infrastructure to gather and analyze critical information with the goal of understanding the usage of autonomous vehicles in a city environment. The May Mobility fleet operates complementarily to the city of Grand Rapid’s existing DASH transportation fleet.

During the initial nine months of testing and deployment, May shuttles autonomously drove nearly 14,000 miles on the streets of Grand Rapids. The service is set to resume this fall with enhanced features for sanitation and rider safety.

This announcement also builds on the launch last month of the state’s Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, reaffirming Michigan’s position as the global leader in producing and developing the next generation of transportation technologies. The new office is working across state government, academia, and private industry to enhance Michigan’s mobility ecosystem, including developing dynamic mobility and electrification policies and supporting the startup and scale-up of emerging technologies and businesses.

“Michigan has a highly collaborative environment between its public and private sectors,” says Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer with the Office of Future Mobility. “This allows us to consistently pair next-generation technologies with government efforts to prioritize the safety and inclusion of all Michigan residents as we improve transportation services in our cities.  We’re pleased to work together with May Mobility in supporting projects that have meaningful impact and create a better quality of life for our residents.”

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