Scott Achelpohl | FleetOwner
A BrightDrop EV available for test drives in the ride-and-drive area at 2022 Work Truck Week in Indianapolist in March.

BrightDrop acquires AI software of tech startup Marain

June 15, 2022
General Motors subsidiary and maker of electric vehicles for last-mile delivery plans to integrate fleet-optimization software into its Zevo vans and Trace e-carts.

Last-mile electric-vehicle maker BrightDrop, a subsidiary of General Motors, will integrate the AI-powered fleet optimization software of a California-based technology startup into its Zevo vans and Trace e-carts.

The Marain Inc. software is designed to analyze, forecast, and identify multimodal solutions for fleet customers as they plan their journey to full-fleet electrification, according to a BrightDrop release.

See also: First five of 500 BrightDrop EVs delivered to FedEx

Just 17 months after launching the business, and on the heels of delivering its first commercial electric vehicles to FedEx Corp., this move signals BrightDrop’s continued growth and momentum to capture a share of what it estimates to be a $250 billion last-mile delivery market.

As commercial fleets ramp up electrification efforts, challenges increase around operationalizing a complex delivery system, including interpreting data, predicting trends, and controlling assets within fleets, according to the BrightDrop release.

A single delivery today can include multiple touch points between vehicles, hubs, drop-off locations, drivers, and fleet managers that all must work together to get packages to customers on time. Downtime is a significant cost, according to BrightDrop, and bringing Marain’s software in-house will allow the EV maker to help fleet customers maximize uptime, improve efficiencies, and keep goods flowing through the delivery ecosystem 24/7, BrightDrop officials 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,” said Rachad Youssef, BrightDrop’s chief product officer. “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.”

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 Zevo and Trace products for these multisegment delivery and logistics scenarios. This will enable fleet customers to better optimize their operations as they make the transition to an all-electric future. This software will also help BrightDrop customers see exactly what efficiencies are possible and how to capture them, helping drive lower operational costs and higher profitability, according to the release.

“The opportunity to electrify the delivery sector is massive, and it will benefit significantly from sophisticated planning and operations software as fleets introduce multimodal solutions,” said Damien Scott, CEO and co-founder of Marain. “BrightDrop is extremely well-positioned to lead the transformation of first- to last-mile deliveries with its integrated vehicle, software, and services portfolio.”

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