Orlando’s Emerging Leader in Autonomous Transportation Orlando-based Beep Series
January 15, 2024
Orlando is fast becoming a leader in autonomous transportation innovation. While many companies are working on self-driving vehicles, one startup has positioned itself at the forefront of real-world testing and deployment:Orlandobased Beep Series, the Orlando-based autonomous shuttle operator. After securing $50 million in new funding, Beep is expanding its operations and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with autonomous mobility.
In April 2023, Beep announced a $50 million Series A round led by Baltimore-based ABS Capital. This significant infusion of capital showed investors’ belief in Beep’s mission and its progress to date. Co-founder and CEO Joe Moye said the new funds will allow Beep to “significantly expand” operations and take its autonomous shuttles to more communities.
Additional investors in the round included Intel Capital, Blue Lake Capital, TDF Ventures, and Hidden Creek Management. The backing of strategic partners like Intel underscored Beep’s prominence in the autonomous space. With testing already underway in multiple cities, Beep has proven its capabilities and shown this revolutionary technology can operate safely on public roads with real passengers.
A Proven Track Record
Since starting autonomous shuttle services in 2019, Beep has continually expanded its operations. It began testing small self-driving shuttles that have room for 8-12 seated passengers – on a 1-mile loop around Lake Nona in Orlando. Over 100,000 rides have been provided safely so far on this route. Starting in late 2022, the company launched a new 1.5-mile route in the nearby community of Baldwin Park.
Beep also deployed autonomous shuttles in late 2021 for the South Beach Group Art Show in Miami. The vehicles transported thousands of attendees around the event site throughout the weekend. This proved Beep’s technology can handle dynamic environments beyond controlled test routes. Other trial routes have included Lake Merritt in Oakland, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Experience Through Federal Partnerships
To progress in autonomous vehicle technology, real-world experience is crucial. Beep has found partners to gain this experience through piloted programs with the U.S. federal government.
In 2022, Beep was selected to participate in the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Deployment (ATCMTD) Initiative. This gave Beep the opportunity to deploy and test autonomous shuttles along the River District corridor in Arlington, Virginia, providing connectivity to the area’s Metro station.
“The pilot with the FTA allows us to demonstrate how self-driving vehicles can integrate with public transportation networks to provide first and last mile solutions,” said Beep’s Head of Policy, Jeff Brown, at the time. Through the program, Beep has been able to gain experience operating in a wider range of road environments and weather conditions than available in Florida.
Expanding Operations In Existing Cities
Beep plans to significantly grow its autonomous shuttle services in the cities where it already operates. In Orlando, the company will launch two new routes in the coming year to connect more neighborhoods to local attractions. This will allow up to 5,000 additional daily rides. Beep is also working with the City of Baldwin Park to extend its existing 1.5-mile loop there.
In Arlington, Virginia, Beep will continue its partnership with the FTA through 2023. Two additional autonomous shuttle routes will provide first/last mile connections to other Metro stations. This will give Beep invaluable experience operating in an urban environment with varying road and traffic conditions.
Launching In New Test Markets
Beep has selected three new cities to launch pilot autonomous shuttle programs before the end of 2023. This will allow the company to test its vehicles and services in diverse geographic and infrastructure conditions. The first new market will be in Tempe, Arizona, where shuttles will run on the Arizona State University campus. Routes in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and the Denver Tech Center Colorado district are also developing.
Advancing Autonomous Delivery
Beep is making progress on its autonomous box truck prototype for urban deliveries. The vehicle successfully completed its first fully driverless deliveries of food and packages on a closed test track in late 2022. Beep aims to launch pilot delivery services in partnership with local businesses in Orlando and Arlington in 2023. This will demonstrate how autonomous vehicles can provide efficient last-mile delivery solutions to reduce congestion.
With its expanded operations, strategic partnerships, and focus on real-world testing, Beep is solidifying its leadership position. The company continues pushing the boundaries of autonomous mobility to transform transportation networks nationwide.
Finalize The Topic With The Beep’s Future
With its Series A funding secured, Beep has clear ambitions to become the leading autonomous shuttle service in the U.S. The company plans to double its employee headcount to over 200 by the end of 2023 as it ramps up operations. Expansion to several new cities is also planned over the next year.
Beep’s modular, purpose-built autonomous shuttles are also poised to take on a greater role in mobility. In late 2022, Beep debuted an autonomous, electric box truck prototype designed to deliver goods short distances within cities. According to Moye, “Delivery will be a natural extension of our passenger service to provide efficient transportation of people and things.”
With continuous testing and pilot programs, Beep is gaining the experience needed to deploy autonomous vehicles at scale. Its focus on real-world operation sets the company apart. As the technology progresses, Beep aims to establish itself as the premier provider of next-gen self-driving mobility services across the U.S. From its Orlando base, the company is leading Florida into the autonomous future.