May Mobility’s Tom Tang named on Insider’s list of Power Players in the self-driving-car industry

Our very own Tom Tang, chief people officer for May Mobility, made Insider’s list of autonomous vehicle (AV) industry Power Players, receiving recognition as an innovator and essential executive.

During his tenure at May, he has overseen a massive growth in our employee base, helped enhance and drive our culture, and embedded important priorities and processes, such as those for Pay-for-Performance Compensation and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging. We’re thrilled that Insider sees what we see, and asked Tom some questions about how he’s leaving his mark at May and in the broader AV space.

How does it feel to be named among the most powerful players in the AV space?

I feel very humbled! It’s an honor to be included and recognized alongside so many accomplished leaders in the industry.

Your role isn’t specific to the AV industry, yet it’s no less integral to our success. Can you help explain how talent and culture are key to  ensuring the long-term success of May? 

At May, our cars drive themselves but it’s our people who help propel us forward in the pursuit of our mission to transform cities through autonomous technology. As the race to deploy AVs at scale intensifies, so too does the competition for top talent and that’s where we believe our unique culture positions us for success. People join May because they want to have a real world impact. We’re building a better AV technology that works in the real world, and employees get to see how their contributions make a difference in the communities where we live and work. We also welcome and embrace those who represent the vibrancy of the cities where we operate. Our people are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, and our workplaces (both on-site and virtual) are designed to foster belonging, connection and fun!

How do you hope to leave your mark on our company and industry? 

For me, May’s brand promise of “unlocking greater human potential” goes beyond just our customers and riders. It’s also a key part of the employee experience here. When someone joins us, I want them to know that we see their potential and believe they can do great things. We take the time to invest in their growth and development. We strive to provide them with a truly great manager. We want them to bring their own personal magic and passion, and we believe that—so long as the role allows for it—they can be successful from anywhere: onsite, remote or a hybrid of the two. When that same person leaves May, I want them to feel appreciated and to know that we are grateful for their contributions and impact. Most importantly, I want them to believe that their time at May was time well spent, and that we are proud of them and what they will go on to accomplish as a May alum.

Tom Tang enjoys lunch with colleagues at May Mobility’s headquarters.

Our employee base has tripled in your first 18 months. How would you say that’s affecting the culture and how is your team helping the company adjust to the boom? 

It’s been incredible to see how quickly we’ve grown in such a short amount of time, and how it’s had a positive effect on our culture and on our teams! By adding more people, we have been able to accelerate our rate of progress while distributing the workload better so people can achieve improved work-life-balance. At my last company, we experienced 20x full-time employee (FTE) growth in 3 years and I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, like the importance of investing early in programs such as Onboarding and Learning & Development. At May, we see our new hires bringing in a ton of valuable experience to their roles and to their teams; so it’s equally important for us to ensure that they are able to ramp up quickly, and that we are able to help capture valuable institutional knowledge and then pass that along to others.

You’ve said before that you aim to embed diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEI&B) into everything we do. What are a few of the strategies and tactics you’re using to that end? 

When it comes to DEI&B, I often see companies focus on Diversity first,  recruiting for diverse representation with an emphasis on junior roles that are seen as “easier” and help with the numbers that get reported out. I prefer doing the opposite because I don’t believe “filling a leaky bucket” is a sustainable approach, nor do I believe people are likely to join an organization if they don’t see themselves reflected within the leadership team first. 

At May, we gave ourselves a good hard look in the mirror and prioritized differently. We focus on  building: Equity in terms of our equitable compensation philosophy and our calibrated performance management processes; Inclusion by designing and leading an inclusive meetings framework; and a sense of Belonging for everyone here today with communities like our MayID employee resource group. In doing so, we help ensure that each new person who joins can do so knowing the diversity that they bring will be celebrated, recognized and supported.

What would you say to people considering careers in the AV space? To people considering careers at May? 

I think the engineering effort behind autonomous vehicles is the moonshot of our generation, which makes it such an exciting industry to be in. For anyone considering a career in the AV space, I highly recommend it! And there are so many important roles to play, both technical and non-technical. For example, right now May is looking for people to join the following teams: Autonomy, Business Development, Customer Operations, Finance, Hardware, Marketing, Product, Software, and Vehicle Engineering/Operations. Needless to say, we look forward to hearing from you!

 

Interested in a career at May? See how you can leave your mark on the AV industry on our careers page.

Bridgestone Invests in Autonomous Driving Technology Provider May Mobility, Kicks Off Broader Partnership

Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone), a global leader in tires and sustainable mobility solutions, today announced a minority investment in May Mobility, marking the company’s first investment in public-serving autonomous vehicles (AVs). May Mobility is a leader in AV technology, leveraging its innovative Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM) system to realize a world where AVs make transportation safer, more accessible, equitable, and sustainable. The new partnership will include the future integration of Bridgestone’s digital and predictive tire-centric technologies into May Mobility autonomous vehicles, granting deeper AV intelligence for even safer and more efficient operation. Through the partnership, Bridgestone will also gain valuable insights into autonomous vehicle operations to improve its core tire products and mobility solutions.

 

The new relationship between Bridgestone and Ann Arbor, Michigan-based May Mobility expands the AV technology company’s ability to operate and service its vehicles in new markets through Bridgestone’s nationwide network of more than 2,200 tire and automotive service centers doing business under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works retail brands. In addition, May Mobility will also be able to leverage the company’s mobile service provider, Firestone Direct, to support their expansion. This will further enhance May Mobility’s ability to scale AV operations for its growing fleet of Toyota passenger vehicles, including the Toyota Sienna Autono-MaaS. May Mobility plans to continue expanding operations in the U.S. and Japan, building sustainable, accessible, affordable AV transit solutions.

 

“May Mobility is at the forefront of AV innovation and development, and we are excited to partner with the company through our broad service network of company-owned retail stores,” said Brian Goldstine, President of Mobility Solutions and Fleet Management, Bridgestone Americas. “Our future plans to integrate the Bridgestone suite of predictive maintenance insights will help ensure that May Mobility vehicles operate even more safely, efficiently and sustainably.”

 

May Mobility vehicles will also utilize insights derived from in-wheel sensors and proprietary Bridgestone predictive algorithms to monitor the health of tires, including tire pressure, temperature and tread wear, which will allow for proactive and predictive maintenance that helps improve fleet safety, efficiency and sustainability. Azuga, a cloud-based fleet mobility solution acquired by Bridgestone in 2021, will also be leveraged by May Mobility to improve business performance through the platform’s fleet management, camera intelligence and route planning features.

 

“The ability to operate and service vehicles using Bridgestone’s 2,200 nationwide stores gives May Mobility an unmatched ability to scale across the country,” said Edwin Olson, CEO of May Mobility. “This collaboration builds upon our shared mission of providing safe and sustainable mobility solutions on a global scale.” 

This investment is another example of Bridgestone’s continued evolution to provide smart-sensing tires and sustainable mobility solutions. The May Mobility partnership follows the company’s recently announced investments in mobile fuel and energy provider, Yoshi, and tire data supplier, Tyrata. Bridgestone and May Mobility plan to launch their vehicle service integration plans later this year.

May Mobility continues to drive AV accessibility with update on Inclusive Design Challenge

On January 24th, May Mobility presented in USDOT’s virtual workshops alongside UMTRI for the Inclusive Design Challenge. Here’s an update on how our project is going and how you can watch a recording of the workshop.

 

We believe that autonomous travel must be accessible – not sometime in the future, but today. But we’re still thinking about what an even more accessible autonomous future looks like, especially when communities are ready for fully driverless vehicles.

 

Back in 2020, we were selected in a competitive process to participate in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Inclusive Design Challenge, working on a project called Independent Safety for Wheelchair Users in AVs. May’s project team includes the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), United Spinal Association, BraunAbility, Feonix Mobility Rising, and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living (AACIL), which delivered an update in the virtual workshop series on January 24th

 

What do we mean by independent safety for wheelchair users? The cornerstone of the project is an integrated wheelchair seating station, and an independent wheelchair docking station and automated belt donning system. To this end, UMTRI is iterating previous prototypes of the Universal Docking Interface Geometry, or UDIG.

Three individuals stand inside a vehicle inspecting the wheelchair docking system.

Researchers and a focus group of experienced paratransit drivers test out the integrated wheelchair seating station.

The UDIG is a common geometry for connecting wheelchairs to vehicles, similar to what you would see with a truck-trailer hitch. When in place, the UDIG allows a wheelchair with compatible attachments to dock in any vehicle with appropriate anchors.

 

This isn’t a new idea: the concept has been around for 20 years. This project is a necessary next step that looks at what questions need to be asked and answered when the UDIG is implemented in an electric and autonomous vehicle. With the battery and technology, is there a tighter space to fit the UDIG? What needs to be moved around? What can the system replicate if an attendant is not present? 

 

We were able to answer some of these questions with a recent focus group with experienced paratransit drivers. Drivers from transit agencies in Minnesota, Nevada, and Michigan traveled to our office in Ann Arbor to get an overview of progress so far, a live demonstration, and to provide feedback. Their perspective will be extremely helpful as we go into full volunteer testing with wheelchair users, which will be the most beneficial part of stage two for our team.

Four individuals observe a vehicle's wheelchair onboarding ramp.

Focus group attendees observe the vehicle’s wheelchair onboarding ramp.

For the next few months, UMTRI researchers will evaluate usability and on-road comfort by working with up to 25 wheelchair users who will try out the UDIG system and give detailed feedback. After gathering this feedback, the team will adjust the solution to make it even better than before.

 

Work on projects like the Inclusive Design Challenge and with partners like UMTRI, United Spinal, and others helps us continue to unearth how AVs can bring the most value to communities.

 

To see the Inclusive Design Challenge team overviews of progress so far, you can watch the virtual workshop recording here using passcode N02C&CjM.

May Mobility Grows Leadership Through Chief Commercial Officer, Board of Directors

Board of directors and executive team additions strengthen May Mobility’s position in the industry

 

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – May Mobility, a leader in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology, today announced the addition of Chief Commercial Officer Manik Dhar and the expansion of its board of directors. These additions build upon the organization’s strong foundation of innovative AV technology, a scalable go-to-market approach, and strong relationships with key strategic partners.

 

An image of Manik Dhar at May Mobility Headquarters in 2022

Manik Dhar, Chief Commercial Officer of May Mobility.

Dhar brings more than 25 years of experience leading companies across multiple industries and geographies to substantial revenue growth. He previously served as chief revenue officer at data-annotation firm CloudFactory, and held leadership roles at student-transportation disruptor Zūm, Google, and Oracle.

 

“Manik will strengthen our go-to-market strategy and ensure sustainable monetization,” said Edwin Olson, chief executive officer of May Mobility. “The scalability of our Multi-Policy Decision Making system is one of May Mobility’s core strengths. With Manik’s diverse experience at Zūm, Google, and Oracle, and proven track record developing those major companies, we’ll accelerate our growth while strengthening key partnerships along the way.”

 

Dhar’s responsibilities as the company’s first chief commercial officer will include identifying future revenue streams, expanding the company’s customer footprint, and amplifying its commercial story to an ever-growing audience.

 

“May Mobility is an innovative technology company transforming transit,” said Dhar. “I look forward to developing a commercial strategy that maximizes synergies across the company’s international team and delivers a truly amazing end-to-end customer experience.”

 

SPARX and Toyota Executives Join May Mobility Board of Directors

Seiji Miyasaka, president of SPARX Capital Investments, Inc. and Yosuke Tsuruta, vice president of dealer experience and mobility at Toyota Motor North America will join the technology company’s board of directors, with Masaru Kusutani of Tokio Marine Holdings, Inc., and Takamichi Kono of Toyota Tsusho also joining as board observers. 

 

“Both Seiji and Tosuke bring a wealth of experience to strengthen our foundations in finance, technology, and operating with relevance on a global scale,” said Olson.

 

With almost twenty years of experience as a leader in private equity investment, Seiji is a U.S. team leader at Mirai Creation Fund, a venture capital fund managed by SPARX Group that invests into next generation technologies including AI, robotics, energy solutions, electrification, and carbon neutrality. Prior to joining SPARX Group, Seiji served as chief operating officer and president of Japanese energy-focused private equity fund IDI Infrastructures Inc., after having gained experience working in corporate finance at the Industrial Bank of Japan.

 

“I’m very much looking forward to joining the May Mobility Board of Directors,” said Miyasaka. “They have been a revolutionary force and impressive innovator in the autonomous transportation industry. I’m excited to be a part of its continued evolution and expansion.” 

 

Tsuruta has spent more than 20 years with Toyota, primarily focused on Mobility as a Service (MaaS). With roles spanning across Japan, Thailand, and the U.S., he has led projects including the development of the e-Palette and collaborations with mobility partners including May Mobility, Uber, and Aurora. In January 2022, Tsuruta moved to his current role in the U.S., promoting hands-on activities in the Autono-MaaS and flying mobility businesses. 


“I’ve long shared May Mobility’s belief that technology has the potential to improve lives and create more equitable communities,” said Tsuruta. “It’s an honor to join the company’s board of directors, and to be part of a values-led organization that’s transforming transit globally constantly, both enabling and enhancing the way we live.”

 

To learn more about May Mobility’s leadership team, visit maymobility.com/meet-may/

 

About May Mobility
May Mobility is a leading autonomous vehicle technology company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan and established in 2017. With the goal of transforming cities through safe, accessible, green, transportation solutions,  May Mobility engineers their proprietary system, Multi-Policy Decision Making (MPDM), from the ground up to offer a better, more scalable solution, delivering more than 300,000 autonomy-enabled rides to date. With key strategic partnerships including some of the world’s most innovative automotive and transportation companies, such as Toyota Motor Corporation, May Mobility provides transit solutions across the U.S. and Japan. For more information, visit maymobility.com