The Narrow Road Ahead For Self-driving Startups

The Narrow Road Ahead For Self-driving Startups
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There are a large number (more than 240 worldwide) of artificial intelligence (AI) startups around that are trying to get noticed for their efforts in designing software, hardware, and other components to be used for self-driving ventures. According to Reuters, there’s more than 75 in Silicon Valley alone. So, with this boom in AI startups, how are any of them supposed to survive?

Nullmax, is one of those 240+ AI startups, but it doesn’t seem to be phased at all in regards to the competition it must face in becoming a big name in this industry. The company’s founders are Lei Xu and Justin Song, both of who worked for Tesla previously. Although they have received corporate funding, strangely enough none of this is from Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Nullmax did however receive $10 million from Chinese firm, Xinmao Science and Technology in 2016 in which to help make their visions become a reality.

While $10 million not sound much when considering General Motors bought Cruise Automation last year for $1 billion, or when just last week Delphi Automotive shelled out $450 million for software startup NuTonomy. But, these are rare examples, and it’s not often that startups receive anywhere near these amounts. Out of the top 30 self-driving AI startups, only only 7 have received later-stage funding, suggesting investors are still a little skeptical when it comes to self-driving vehicles. One concern for the future of self-driving is that it could take a whole decade before the full transition takes place from what we have today on the roads to a fleet of automated cars.

Having said that, recent years have still seen investors putting in around $40 billion to $50 billion when it comes to self-driving AI startups. Those that are among the top investors in this field include Intel Corp, Delphi, Samsung Group, and Qualcomm Inc. Palo Alto-based Hone Capital also continues to invest heavily in AI and self-driving startups.

But even with all these large investors in the playing field, Nullmax is not giving up hope and will be relying on the fact that it’s different from the other self-driving AI startups out there. Rather than focus on the European or American markets, Nullmax will be concentrating on the Chinese market and and aiming to have their first partially automated system available for Chinese automakers by 2020. The company currently employs around 50 staff, most of which are based in a large office in Shanghai.

Source Economic Times

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