Bestmile raises $16.5 million to manage human and AI-driven fleets – gpgmail


Bestmile, a transportation software startup, has raised $16.5 million in a Series B round led by Blue Lagoon Capital and TransLink Capital.

Existing investors Road Ventures, Partech, Groupe ADP, Airbus Ventures, Serena and others also participated in the round. The company, which launched in 2014, has raised $31 million to date.

Bestmile has developed fleet management software that orchestrates the delicate balance between demand for, and supply of transportation. Managing fleets isn’t new. However, the emergence of new and varied ways for people and packages to move within cities has created new opportunities for software companies.

Bestmile is aiming to become the preferred platform for public transit operators, automakers and taxi companies that offer ride-hailing, microtransit, autonomous shuttle services and even robotaxis. While Bestmile emphasizes the ability of the platform to manage more futuristic means of travel, namely autonomous shuttles, fleet management software is designed to be agnostic. This means it will work for human-driven fleets like traditional taxi cabs as well as autonomous shuttles and, someday, robotaxis.

The startup’s investors also see opportunities for the platform that extend beyond microtransit, ride-hailing and autonomous shuttles. For instance, Airbus Ventures sees Bestmile as a key enabler for urban air mobility, according to Thomas d’Halluin, a managing partner at the Airbus’ venture arm.

The platform works by collecting real-time data such as weather, traffic, demand and vehicle telemetry. It then uses the data to squeeze the most out of the fleet. That means balancing demand from customers with the cost of operations.

The startup, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland and has an office in San Francisco, already has a number of customers, including autonomous shuttle operators. The company’s software is managing 15 deployments globally. Bestmile announced earlier this week that it has partnered with Beep, an autonomous shuttle company in Orlando, Fla.

Blue Lagoon partners Rodney Rogers and Kevin Reid have joined Bestmile’s board. Rogers is now board chairman. The pair, which have first-hand experience as co-founders, should be able to provide the kind of insight needed to scale a company. Rogers and Reid co-founded enterprise cloud services company Virtustream, which was acquired by EMC Corporation in 2015 for $1.2 billion. The business is now part of Dell Technologies.


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Waymo self-driving cars head to Florida for rainy season – gpgmail


Waymo is taking some of its autonomous vehicles to Florida just in time for hurricane season to begin testing in heavy rain.

The move to Florida will focus on testing how its myriad of sensors hold up during the region’s rainy season as well as to collect data. All of the vehicles will be manually driven by trained drivers.

Waymo will bring both of its autonomous vehicles, the Chrysler Pacificas and a Jaguar I-Pace, to Naples and Miami, Florida for testing, according to a blog posted Tuesday. Miami is one of the wettest cities in the U.S., averaging 61.9 inches of rain annually.

The self-driving car company, which is a business under Alphabet, began testing its autonomous vehicles in and around Mountain View, Calif., before branching out to other cities and weather, including Novi, Michigan, Kirkland, Washington and San Francisco. But the bulk of the company’s activities have been in suburbs of Phoenix and around Mountain View — two places with lots of sun, and even blowing dust, in the case of Phoenix.

Waymo opened a technical center Chandler, Ariz. and started testing there in 2016. Since then the company has ramped up its testing and launched an early rider program in April 2017 as a step toward commercial deployment.

The company will spend the next several weeks driving on a closed course in Naples to test its sensor suite , which includes lidar, cameras and radar . Later in the month, Waymo plans to bring its vehicles to public roads in Miami. A few Waymo vehicles will be collecting data on highways between Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers and Miami.

Waymo is hardly the only autonomous vehicle company to take advantage of Florida’s AV friendly regulations. Ford and Argo AI, the self-driving company it backs, have had a presence in the Miami since early 2018. Argo AI began collecting data and mapping and has since expanded to testing in autonomous mode last summer.

Last year, Ford partnered with Walmart and Postmates to test the business of delivering goods like groceries and pet food using self-driving vehicles. The pilot project is focused on Miami-Dade County.

Self-driving trucks startup Starsky Robotics also is testing in Florida.


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