NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bridgestone Americas Inc. has established a partnership with and acquired a minority interest in May Mobility Inc., a developer of autonomous vehicle (AV) transportation technology.
The agreement calls for the companies to integrate Bridgestone's digital and predictive tire-centric technologies into May Mobility's autonomous vehicle fleets, granting deeper AV intelligence for safer and more efficient operation, Bridgestone said.
Through the partnership, Bridgestone said it will gain valuable insights into AV operations to improve its core tire products and mobility solutions.
Ann Arbor, Mich-based May Mobility's basic business direction is developing connected systems to enable autonomous transportation, primarily through its proprietary Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system.
May Mobility operates trialing fleets of AVs in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Mich.; Austin, Texas; Fishers, Ind., and Hiroshima, Japan, totaling 18 vehicles. May Mobility said these fleets have conducted over 300,000 miles of "autonomy-enabled" operation over the past few years.
May Mobility said the partnership with Bridgestone will aid it in two fundamental ways, one commercial and one technological.
On the commercial level, the partnership offers May Mobilty the opportunity to expand the number of fleet trials exponentially by tapping into Bridgestone's network of 2,200-plus retail stores and its Firestone Direct mobile service. This will enhance May Mobility's ability to scale AV operations for its growing fleet of AV-enabled Toyota passenger vehicles in the U.S. and Japan.