BMW and Toyota are investing in a start-up that makes self-driving shuttles

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Founded in 2017 by auto engineers Edwin Olson, Alisyn Malek and Steve Vozar, the company recently raied $11.5 million in seed funding from the BMW i Ventures and Toyota, and major early-stage firms including Maven Ventures and Y Combinator.

Unlike, Alphabet's WaymoGM-owned Cruise or Tesla, which are all working on level-5 autonomous vehicles, May Mobility's electric shuttles were designed to move along short routes that have been mapped inside of a 10-square-mile footprint.

"We're seeing a lot of interest from municipalities and real estate developers," said COO Malek, formerly of GM. "We expect autonomous vehicles to inspire a lot more public-private partnerships in transportation."

BMW i Ventures' Uwe Higgen, an investor in May Mobility's seed round, thinks it makes sense for the company to deploy its shuttles around long-term parking lots at airports, or on big corporate campuses to move workers around.