Like the tortoise, autonomous vehicle operator May Mobility has quietly and slowly achieved success over six years with no crashes, injuries, or scandals.
Its strategy differs from the hare-like robotaxi companies Waymo and Cruise, who tried to go fast by targeting dense cities with 24/7 driverless ridesharing.
Instead, May Mobility focuses on providing transportation services via long-term contracts with businesses, governments, and communities.
This allows gradual autonomous vehicle deployment while controlling costs and burn rate.
The startup was founded in 2017 by Edwin Olson, Alisyn Malek, and Steve Vozar, who have collectively been working on autonomous technology since 2007.
Olson previously led Ford’s autonomous driving program.
The company deploys fleets of autonomous shuttles that run on its self-driving software.
Now, May Mobility is planning its first fully driverless service in an Arizona retirement community.
Vehicles will operate a few afternoons a week along wide, sunny roads separated from pedestrians.
This controlled environment stacks conditions in May’s favor for going driverless.
The company has overcome past incidents and reliability struggles with its vehicles.
As other AV firms have shuttered, its perseverance has let it continue operations and fundraising.
As a contractor for city services, May is incentivized to address municipal concerns, unlike robotaxi firms generating customer complaints.
It aims to avoid congestion or issues with emergency vehicle access which has nearly caused GM-owned competitor Cruise to shut down.
Cruise was the first high flyer in the AV space.
But, in just a few months, after a serious accident in San Francisco involving one of its robotaxis, the company has seen the departure of its CEO and Chief Product Officer, the firing of nine executives, and a layoff of a quarter of the remaining staff.
But for May Mobility, slow and steady is the way to win the race and so far it seems to be working for them.