nuTonomy is a Massachusetts-based self-driving, artificial intelligence (AI) startup that was founded as a spinoff project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) back in 2013. Having to work hard over the past 4 years has finally paid off as the startup gets snapped up by auto-industry giants, Delphi Automotive, in a staggering $450 million bid.
This deal is huge, and not just for nuTonomy. The partnership could help Delphi become a leader in the self-driving technology field. The deal itself is said to be split into two parts with $400 million being paid up front to the startup and $50 million to come later as “earn-outs” over time.
NuTonomy’s workforce currently consists of around 100 employees, most of which are either engineers or scientists. Having such a strong technologically minded workforce gives the company an edge over others and is of no real surprise then that their technology is quite advanced. For just over a year, the AI startup has been running a pilot self-driving AI taxi service in Singapore. It’s also been using modified Renault Zoe’s in which to try out its technology too via the ride hailing company, Lyft.
While there are significant differences between nuTonomy’s self-driving AI software and Delphi’s, Glen De Vos, chief technology officer at Delphi, says that’s a good thing and that the acquisition will be a game-changer. Delphi is certainly investing big in AI at the moment in an attempt to become leaders of the industry. Just last year the company teamed up with machine-vision specialists, Mobileye to develop a self-driving system by the end of 2019. Another valuable partnership Delphi’s formed lately is with German auto manufacturers, BMW AG to bring autonomous driving to it’s range by 2021.
With Delphi teaming up with not only auto manufacturers but ride-sharing companies too, it’s expanding its entrance into the market. It’s also clearing the way in its current business operations to focus more on its AI self-driving systems by spinning off its powertrain business in the first quarter of 2018. This branch of the business is responsible for supplying parts and technologies to automakers.
Two publicly traded companies will be created as part of the spinoff. The historic business will be called Delphi Technologies while the new future-tech business will be named Aptiv. Considering Aptiv already has the backing of nuTonomy’s team and technology it should have no worries in becoming a formidable contender in the AI self-driving technology race.