BrightDrop acquires tech startup Marain’s AI software to help fleet owners lower costs

BrightDrop, the technology start-up decarbonising last-mile deliveries that’s owned by General Motors (GM) that’s decarbonising last-mile deliveries, is acquiring fleet optimisation software from Marain Inc., a California-based technology startup.

BrightDrop will integrate Marain’s artificial intelligence-powered fleet optimisation software into BrightDrop’s ecosystem of last-mile solutions. This will be used to analyse, forecast and identify multi-modal solutions for fleet customers as they plan their journey to full-fleet electrification.

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Just 17 months afterlaunching the business, and on the heels of delivering its first commercial electric vehicles to FedEx, this move signals BrightDrop’s continued growth. The momentum of this is expected to capture a winning share of the $250 billion last-mile delivery market.

As commercial fleets ramp up electrification efforts, there are increased challenges around operationalising a highly complex delivery system. This includes interpreting data, predicting trends and controlling assets within fleets. 

A single delivery can include multiple touch points between vehicles, hubs, drop-off locations, drivers and fleet managers. All must work seamlessly together to get packages to customers on time, every time. 

Downtime is a significant cost, and bringing Marain’s software in-house will allow BrightDrop to help fleet customers maximise uptime, improve efficiencies and keep goods flowing through the delivery ecosystem 24/7.

Marain’s fleet optimization software, acquired by BrightDrop in an effort to help make the transition to electric fleets easier

Rachad Youssef, BrightDrop chief product officer, said: “We’re bringing entirely new ways of doing business to the delivery market by providing a holistic, one-stop-shop portfolio of first- to last-mile solutions that allow fleet customers to do their jobs more efficiently while helping alleviate strain on the workforce, and the environment,” 

“Part of that includes building a software platform that leverages data and simulation to demonstrate how new technologies can work for them. This integration will take our software capabilities to new heights, while continuing to deliver as promised for our customers.”

Combining advanced AI and machine learning technologies with data analytics and powerful simulation tooling allows Marain’s fleet optimisation software to model various complex environments and deliver better performance for customers. 

BrightDrop will integrate this technology into its software solution to model the efficiency gains that can be captured as customers adopt new technologies like the BrightDrop Zevo and BrightDrop Trace products for these multi-segment delivery and logistics scenarios. 

This will enable fleet customers to better optimise their operations as they make the transition to an all-electric future. This software enhancement will also help BrightDrop customers see exactly what efficiencies are possible and how to capture them. Ultimately, this will help drive lower operational costs and higher profitability.

Marain’s AI-powered fleet optimization software, which BrightDrop will integrate into its ecosystem of last-mile solutions

Damien Scott, Marain CEO and co-founder, said: “The opportunity to electrify the delivery sector is massive. It will benefit significantly from sophisticated planning and operations software as fleets introduce multi-modal solutions.

“BrightDrop is extremely well-positioned to lead the transformation of first- to last-mile deliveries with its integrated vehicle, software and services portfolio. We are delighted that Marain’s technology and expertise will uniquely add to BrightDrop’s software capabilities helping to decarbonise the last-mile at scale.”

Born out of Stanford’s Autonomous Research Lab, Marain was founded by University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University alumni with deep expertise spanning AI, ML, transportation, autonomy and energy systems. 

Marain employees will join BrightDrop including co-founders, Scott and Colin Sheppard. They will lead the integration efforts across the data and analytics and product development teams, consistent with the company’s investments in and laser focus on its software-centric approach to decarbonising last-mile deliveries.

The BrightDrop EV600 all-electric light commercial vehicle

BrightDrop has secured more than 25,000 electric vehicle (EV) production reservations. Its flagship vehicle, the BrightDrop Zevo 600, is currently in production and on roads today, with high-volume production beginning later this year. BrightDrop’s Trace e-cart is available today, and the Zevo 400 will be available in late 2023. 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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