SHIZUKA TANABE, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO — Top Japanese tire maker Bridgestone will take a minority stake in May Mobility, a U.S. startup that develops technology for self-driving cars and is also backed by Toyota Motor.
Through the partnership, May Mobility will use Bridgestone algorithms that track tire health and predict tread wear.
The need for tire monitoring is expected to grow with the rise of autonomous cars, since the lack of a human driver may lead to problems going unnoticed. For Bridgestone, the partnership will provide new opportunities to gain know-how in self-driving cars.
This marks Bridgestone’s second investment in a U.S. developer of autonomous driving technology. Last year, the company announced a stake in U.S-based Kodiak Robotics.
May Mobility is developing an operating system for automated public transportation. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company provided an automated vehicle for a road-test in Hiroshima last year.
In the U.S., May Mobility will have access to Bridgestone’s more than 2,200 service centers through the partnership, Bridgestone Americas said in a statement Monday.
The size of the investment was not disclosed.
Japanese financial group Tokio Marine Holdings is also an investor in May Mobility.