“Five or six years from now, we’ll have truly autonomous driving in your car, and we’ll sleep along the way and wake up at your destination …” Teslaowned by the CEO of Elon Musk. In an interview with the Huffington Post in 2014, he predicted the future of autonomous vehicles.
Although the prediction of the name, which is often discussed whether he is crazy or even, has not been fully accurate, the toughest competition in the automotive industry in recent years is experienced in driverless vehicle technologies. The industry is in great change and transformation through electric and autonomous vehicles. There is a fierce race for those who want to take part in the autonomous vehicle market, which is seen as having a very high potential … But in terms of the service that will make the most important difference in the automotive market, brands are moving forward by investing together or purchasing companies that have reached a certain learning stage, rather than being burdened alone. In addition to well-established companies such as Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota, new generation companies such as Tesla, Uber and Waymo are also investing in the autonomous vehicle world.
Lyft, self-driving car unit to Toyota for 550 million dollars sold. Toyota will pay a total of $ 550 million for Lyft’s self-driving car unit. Of the 550 million dollars, 200 million dollars will be paid in cash, and the remaining 350 million dollars are planned to be paid within the next 5 years. The purchase agreement is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021. 300 employees of the Level 5 unit in the USA, Germany and England will join Toyota Motor Corporation with the agreement and continue their work from the Palo Alto office.
US tech company based in Ireland in March 2020 Aptiv PLC who signed a partnership agreement with Hyundaiannounced that they are preparing to lead the automotive industry by developing innovative autonomous vehicle systems. Aptiv and Hyundai’s robot taxi models were introduced and tested in 2020. From 2023, the electric and autonomous Ioniq 5 models will serve as robot taxis. The fully autonomous driving system to be used in the vehicles will be Motional’s driverless system. Unlike Hyundai, which plans to launch the robot taxi in 2023, Google is currently doing so through Waymo.
Although the market is moving nowadays, investments started long ago. Who wants to take advantage of the potential of the sector Ford Motor Company in 2017 Argo AI will invest $ 1 billion in an enterprise operating in the artificial intelligence vertical. had announced. Two years later, another car brand Volkswagen, which saw an opportunity in this field, invested $ 2.6 billion in Argo AI, which serves as Ford’s driverless car unit. The valuation of the venture is over $ 7 billion output.
There was a new development in Argo AI two days ago. He explained the details of the long-range Lidar sensor, which he said is capable of detecting dark and distant objects with high resolution, up to 400 meters distance and low reflectivity. Actually, this is not the first time. Because the group’s products were already in some of Argo’s test vehicles. Ford plans to deploy these Lidars in autonomous vehicles for vehicle recall and delivery in 2022. Argo’s other investor and customer Volkswagen said that these products will start commercial activities in 2025. This core technology is expected to be integrated into other industries such as mining, agriculture, oil and gas.
In addition, one of the important representatives of the industry is Elon Musk’s Tesla … The price of the Fully Autonomous Driving option has been steadily increasing for the last few years. It rose from 5 thousand dollars to 6 thousand dollars in May last year and to 7 thousand dollars in November. Then it went up to $ 8,000 in June.
Projects put a financial burden on companies
It is said that several companies will dominate the autonomous vehicle market due to the high costs. Because the main type of software that powers autonomous, that is, self-driving cars, is a result of deep reinforcement learning, which is currently the most difficult and expensive branch of artificial intelligence. It is the same technology used in artificial intelligence systems that have mastered complex games such as Go, StarCraft 2 and Dota 2 … In other words, it is a very expensive field that requires investment in R&D activities. So each of the projects costs millions of dollars in hardware resources alone. This picture is evidenced by the $ 16 billion spent by new entrants and established companies last year. The amount is equal to the purchase cost of more than 20 thousand Lamborghini branded vehicles.
Google’s roof company, for example, spent about $ 3.5 billion testing Alphabet’s Waymo, Chrysler Pacificas. Waymo, $ 2.25 billion in new investment tour led by Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mubadala Investment Company in March 2020 had invested. The company, which has cooperated many times from Jaguar to Lyft, has signed a new project with Fiat Chrysler. In addition, the taxi service Waymo One was opened in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2018 and started to provide this service in 2020, this year it is being tested in San Francisco.
On the other hand, all these expenses also cause losses by placing a huge burden on the budgets of companies running self-driving car projects. The sale of Level 5 reduced Lyft’s net annual operating costs by $ 100 million. Uber, Lyft’s competitor, sold its driverless car project ATG, which it has been conducting for about 5 years, to Aurora Innovation, one of its important competitors in the market. Because Uber, along with ATG’s other tech programs, made $ 104 million in losses in the third quarter with $ 25 million in revenue. But this deal did benefit Aurora. The initiative increased its valuation to $ 10 billion. With an investment of $ 400 million, Uber acquired a 26 percent stake in the company. Earlier this year, Uber transferred its cycling unit to Lime, another unit that generates cash outflows from the company.
Founded by former employees of Google and Tesla in 2017, Aurora is known for collaborating with companies such as Hyundai, Byton and Volkswagen. In May, Aurora Innovation also purchased Montana-based Blackmore, a company that develops lidar radar systems used in autonomous cars. $ 1.1 billion from 14 investors in 3 rounds to date received investment. These include companies such as Amazon, Sequoia Capital, Geodesic, and Shell Ventures.
Another company that develops driverless car technologies Nuro… This company draws attention with its collaborations with retail brands since 2016. Last May, in collaboration with CVS Pharmacy, the drugs for the home bearing Nuro has started pilot studies to deliver Domino’s Pizza’s products to consumers since April this year. started. The company has collected 1.5 billion dollars of investment and increased its valuation to 5 billion dollars with these pylorus studies. Its investors include Baillie Gifford, Greylock Partners and Toyota’s Woven Capital.
Sweden based autonomous truck manufacturer the day I passed Einridenews that the company received an investment of 110 million dollars in the series B investment tour. we shared. The $ 110 million investment was made by Temasek, Soros Fund Management LLC, Northzone, Maersk Growth and former investors of the company, EQT Ventures, Plum Alley, Norrsken VC, Ericsson and NordicNinja VC. No information was shared regarding the valuation of the company.
It is a matter of curiosity about the future of autonomous cars, which have different effects in both automobile and vehicle sharing companies … In a few years, the fate of this field will be determined by the companies described above.