Pretty much every automobile manufacturer is investing heavily in the autonomous vehicle space. Add to that the investment from the huge technology companies, the pure-play auto disruptors, and the ride-sharing companies and you have a sector which is awash with investment. And it’s not surprising that is the case, whoever becomes the dominant party in the autonomous vehicle space is destined to make absolute truckloads of money as an entire industry is changed forever.

But apart from the big, attention-grabbing vendors, those who actually make the vehicles, there are a huge number of vendors involved in the various component parts that go into making widespread autonomous vehicle usage a reality. A case in point is Bestmile. From offices on both sides of the Atlantic (San Francisco and Lausanne, to be precise) Bestmile is all about offering a platform that powers autonomous vehicles of any brand or type.

The platform offers features such as fleet and resource management, mobility service operations and optimizations, business back office support and data intelligence. the company’s platform also provides front-end and back-end interfaces for operators and travelers, including control center dashboards, mobile and web applications, and APIs. Add to that, as from today, a move into the ride-hailing space.

Off the back of an $11 million funding round from Partech Ventures, Aéroport de Paris (ADP), Airbus Ventures, Serena Capital and, the company is broadening its offering to give yet another potential value proposition for prospective customers.

The interesting thing here is both the direction that Bestmile is going and the makeup of the investors. A number of non-typical companies are looking to autonomous vehicle provision as a way to prop up diminishing revenues or alternatively product new revenue streams. In particular public transit agencies, private communities and campuses, as well as large utilities such as airports, see ownership of an autonomous vehicle fleet as a smart service offering for their own customers.

In particular, and this is of relevance to this last class of potential customers, Bestmile is seeing autonomous vehicles as complementary to, rather than disruptive for, existing transportation offerings. If you’re an airport, for example, you’re likely to leverage both manually-operated and autonomous vehicles – having a common platform to run the backend logistical, scheduling and commercialization services across that hybrid use case is a compelling proposition.

This notion of integrating autonomous mobility services into the existing transportation ecosystem will be a key driver for Bestmile’s customer acquisition and, while not quite meeting the aspirational goal of total autonomous coverage, is a pragmatic view of what is actually likely to happen in the marketplace.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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