Magna International Inc today announce it has partnered with May Mobility, a Michigan-based start-up building self-driving shuttles, to scale up the latter’s upcoming fleet of self-driving shuttles. Magna will retrofit May Mobility’s low-speed, self-driving micro transit electric vehicles from the chassis up, which is said to be a first-of-its-kind partnership in the industry. These shuttles are set to enter the US market, with the first deployment expected to be in downtown Detroit, the company said.
The initial fleet of vehicles will debut on 26 June, 2018, with May Mobility’s first commercial deployment taking place in Detroit, Michigan, Magna said. Magna will work on the vehicles in its Troy, Michigan-based custom build centre, with May Mobility engineers collaborating on the development from its Ann Arbor headquarters. Beginning 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. This would result in the possibility of scaling volumes to hundreds, and eventually thousands of shuttles as market demands increase.
Magna’s team of experts is carrying out a full rebuild for May Mobility’s self-driving shuttle including body modifications, drive-by-wire up-fitting and Sensor integration. Body modifications come in the form of custom doors and a panoramic moon roof, while drive-by-wire up-fitting is carried out to convert the vehicles into an autonomous-ready state. The sensor integration work includes mounting, cabling, and streamlined cowlings, Magna explained. Along with this, 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.
Swamy Kotagiri, CTO, Magna International Inc, said the company is pleased to work with May Mobility to help support new mobility in city centres. This project demonstrates Magna’s complete vehicle and technical expertise, which supports both existing automakers and new companies entering the automotive space, he added.
“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,” said Steve Vozar, Founder and CTO, May Mobility. This deal demonstrates May Mobility’s commitment to scale and accelerate operations with a partner who understands quality and reliability in the build process, while matching the exacting process that makes it a trusted community partner, he noted.