The fact that the Silicon Valley tech giants are entering the automotive supply chain is nothing short of a revolution for the automotive industry. Furthermore, leading internet groups from elsewhere in the world are also joining the party. For instance China’s leading internet groups Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are all building intelligent and connected vehicles. Where the two camps meet will be critical. Parties on both sides are striking up non-exclusive relationships and collaborations, and over the past year we have seen a wave of announcements.
For instance Ford is collaborating with Lyft to develop self-driving taxis available for commercial use by 2021, while General Motors has also invested heavily in Lyft and is testing hundreds of electric self-driving taxis on public roads. Lyft’s other partners include Jaguar Land Rover and Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google’s parent Alphabet. Meanwhile Uber has struck a deal to buy up to 24,000 self-driving cars from Volvo.
Notable recent deals:
- General Motors acquired Strobe, the US-based developer of laser-imaging technology geared toward enhancing the development of AVs. Strobe will join Cruise Automation, a subsidiary of GM. The acquisition enables GM to accelerate its efforts to build and test electric cars with self-driving capabilities.
- Autoliv, a Sweden-based manufacturer of automotive safety systems, acquired the LiDAR and Time of Flight brands from Fotonic i Norden AB, a Sweden-based camera specialist. LiDAR and Time of Flight cameras are important sensors to make autonomous driving a reality.
- Innoviz Technologies, a leading provider of LiDAR sensing solutions, raised $65m (€52m) in a recent fundraise. Delphi Automotive PLC and Magna International participated in the round, along with additional new investors including 360 Capital Partners, Glory Ventures and Naver.
- LeddarTech, a Canadian developer of Leddar, a LiDAR sensing technology, secured $101m (€81m) in a round of financing. Investors included Gillingham, Delphi, Lombardy, Magneti Marelli, Integrated Device Technology and Fonds de solidarité.
- Continental Aktiengesellschaft, a German manufacturer of automotive components, acquired a minority stake in EasyMile, a France-based provider of shared driverless transportation. The acquisition enables Continental to develop cutting-edge technologies for autonomous driving in cities. Continental has also acquired Israel’s Argus Cyber Security, a specialist in guarding connected cars against hacking.
- ams AG, the Austrian designer and manufacturer of high performance analogue and mixed signal solutions, acquired Princeton Optronics, the US-based company that develops high-power Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs).
- TomTom, the Dutch provider of navigation solutions, acquired AutoNOMOS Labs, a German developer of autonomous and driver-assistance systems to prevent road collisions. The acquisition strengthens TomTom’s position in autonomous driving.
- Intel Corporation acquired a minority stake in HERE, the US-based provider of digital maps and location-based services. The acquisition will enable Intel and HERE to collaborate on the research and development of a proof-of- concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition maps for fully automated driving.
- Autoliv and Volvo set up a joint venture to develop software for autonomous driving and driver assistance systems. The transaction is in line with Volvo and Autoliv’s strategy to use the latest ADAS/AD know-how to create robust and flexible solutions that are at the technological forefront.
- Delphi Automotive acquired self-driving car startup nuTonomy, a US software company. nuTonomy was founded by Karl Iagnemma, head of MIT’s robotic mobility group, and Emilio Frazzoli, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, to develop a full software solution to handle autonomous driving.