Beep Shuttles: A New Take on Self-Driving Cars

For Dealers, A Great Example of Creating a Fresh Approach to Revenue

By Desiree Homer

There are countless headlines these days about the advancement of electric vehicle production and autonomous vehicle advancements. While the industry may be years away from a complete transition to EV/AV consumer culture, there’s one company already creating its own AV revenue channel, by circumventing the direct market altogether. Beep, Inc. is exploring a self-driving shuttle service in Florida and taking advantage of an opportunity to create its own sub-industry. We wanted to explore this company’s offering and share the story as an example of how using a flanker approach to providing solutions can be profitable.

Beep, Inc. Doesn’t Offer Self-Driving Cars

This company is a fleet operator only and has no intention of venturing away from its platform. Beep doesn’t write its own code or develop its own vehicles. It’s not a driver and rider matching service either. This Orlando-based startup has taken a different route and is gaining some serious traction. It initially launched its first AV shuttle ‘route’ near a planned community in partnership with a real estate development firm. The only goal was to offer a shuttle service to that community. Since then, the company has secured contracts with Florida’s Jacksonville Transportation Authority and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. They’re also entertaining additional shuttle routes with a local university and another residential community.

Plans for Growth

Beep, Inc. has 11 shuttle vehicles in its fleet with growth trajectories to increase up to 25. Recently, Beep announced plans for a second location for MLB spring training fans in Peoria, Arizona, who need a lift to the ballpark. Blue Lagoon Capital is the private funding source for Beep, but many other investors are eyeing this increasingly popular, point A to point B type, transportation segment. In a four-month run, the Beep shuttles have transported more than 10,000 people along a single Lake Nona route in Central Florida.

A Unique Opportunity to Think Small for Big Profits

Joe Moye, the CEO of Beep Inc., says tackling the complicated AV production, networking, and development is “shortsighted.” He recognized a unique opportunity to solve smaller problems, with partnerships and local solutions. His AV shuttles have human safety operators, to help navigate around obstacles when necessary, but almost 93% of the time, the vehicles operate autonomously. There are specific routes with designated pick up and stopping zones along the way. Moye predicts the company is realistically a year away from needing human safety drivers at all and says they plan to prepare for teleoperator supervision.

What Can Dealers Take Away from Beep’s Initiative?

While the main stage is full of automakers and tech-giants racing to be first with the AV vehicles, Beep demonstrates there are plenty of opportunities to innovate on a smaller, side stage. As a dealer, your sales and service efforts often have you strategizing for mainstream opportunities. But, could you be creating your own, more localized solutions, as a flanker approach to revenue? You may not have autonomous shuttles to help with transportation in your area. However, is there an opportunity for your dealership to partner with local transit authorities, living communities, or neighborhoods for shuttle revenue? Beep doesn’t worry about developing and creating the headlines. Instead, it’s finding opportunities for simple solutions and leveraging them. It can be inspiring as you consider thinking outside the normal revenue channels in your dealership.

Don’t be afraid to look for other opportunities that make sense for your markets. You can take the flanker approach and create unique solutions, much like folks at Beep are doing, and doing well.