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Magna partners with May Mobility to develop self-driving shuttles

Collaboration in south-eastern Michigan to make the first deployment in Downtown Detroit possible

Getting around in crowded city streets of America is about to get a little easier. May Mobility, an Ann Arbor, Michigan startup building self-driving shuttles, has partnered with Magna, a mobility technology company and one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, to retrofit and scale up May Mobility’s unique fleet of self-driving shuttles set to enter the US market.

This partnership is an industry-first, with Magna retrofitting low-speed self-driving micro transit electric vehicles from the chassis up. (See video below.)

The initial fleet of vehicles will debut on June 26, 2018 with May Mobility’s first commercial deployment which will take place in Detroit, Michigan. 

Swamy Kotagiri, Magna chief technology officer, says: “Magna is pleased to work with a company like May Mobility to help support new mobility in city centers.

“This project demonstrates our complete vehicle and technical expertise which supports both existing automakers and new companies entering the automotive space.”

Magna will work on the vehicles in its Troy, Michigan-based custom build center, with May Mobility engineers collaborating on the development from its Ann Arbor headquarters.

Starting with existing stock vehicles, the new partnership will create a number of street-ready self-driving electric shuttles designed by May Mobility and assembled by Magna that can scale in volume to hundreds, and eventually thousands of shuttles as market demands increase.

Inside the Magna facility, its team of experts is doing a full rebuild for May Mobility’s self-driving shuttle, including:

  • body modifications such as custom doors and a panoramic moonroof;
  • drive-by-Wire Upfitting to convert the vehicles into an autonomous-ready state; and
  • sensor integration, including mounting, cabling, and streamlined cowlings.

May Mobility will continue to further retrofit the vehicles with its proprietary technology stack, bringing safer and more reliable self-driving vehicles to complex urban and residential environments.

Steve Vozar, founder and CTO for May Mobility, says: “Magna shares our high technical standards and excitement about servicing the growing demand for self-driving vehicles to meet today’s transportation needs, while also laying the path for the future.

“This deal demonstrates our commitment to scale and accelerate operations with a partner who understands quality and reliability in the build process, and who can match the exacting process that makes us a trusted community partner.”

May Mobility’s distinct approach – partnering with developers, urban planners and municipalities to understand their needs and design solutions – establishes May Mobility as the trusted autonomous vehicle partner, both in communities and across the industry.

The company intends to offer on-demand services by 2019 and expand its suite of vehicles and services based on customer demand.