Best automobile startups in 2019. Part 1
Best automobile startups in 2019. Part 1

As TechGenix reports, automobile manufacturers can make their cars faster, safer, and more comfortable in five steps:

  • Use of automation. For example, cruise control improves the quality of driving making it less tedious;
  • Integration of assisted steering. A new loop in the automobile evolution is partially controlled driving. For example, different electronic stability programs do not allow driving into the curve with a drift;
  • Use of LiDAR sensors, which help to scan the environment. Thanks to them, the car sees the road, other cars, road signs, trees, buildings, and obstacles;
  • Adding AI to steering and accelerating, but under the driver’s control;
  • Creation of conditions for fully automated driving, which does not require human interference from the start to the end of the journey.

We have prepared articles about startups that are bringing the fifth step into life. Below you will find the first part of the review.

Affectiva

Founded: 2009

Raised: $54.2 million

Affectiva aims to add an ‘emotional component’ to your car. The Emotional AI system recognizes different emotions including anger and oscitancy using a video camera installed in the car.

The vehicle can automatically regulate the temperature or reproduce soothing music depending on the driver’s mood. In emergencies (deep sleep, fainting, heart attack), the autonomous vehicle can pull off the road and send an alert to the ambulance service.

AEye

Founded: 2013

Raised: $61 million

AEye startup developed iDAR (Intelligent Detection and Ranging) system. It reduces the time spent on query processing and increases computing power of LiDAR sensors.

iDAR combines an Agile LiDAR sensor, HD camera, and computer vison technology to allow the car perceive the environment. According to the company, iDAR can increase the speed of data processing up to 10 times and decrease energy consumption by 5-10 times.

The total sum of investments raised by AEye over the time of existence is $61 million.

Pony.ai

Founded: 2016

Raised: $214 million

Founded in 2016, Pony.ai became one of the most successful startups in the autonomous car market. The project has achieved the status of unicorn and is currently estimated at $1 billion. Pony.ai raised $112 million in January of 2018 in the first round of financing, and later $102 million in the second round held in July.

In May of 2018, China drafted national guidelines for trials of autonomous vehicles, and independent platform Pony.ai expanded the capabilities of the national fleet.

Besides, Pony.ai was the first company to obtain T3 license (the highest available level of permit) for testing autonomous vehicles in Beijing. Apart from the production of driverless cars, Pony.ai launched an autonomous taxi service.

Zoox

Founded: 2014

Raised: $500 million

Zoox is a team of developers that work on the creation of driverless taxi. In 5 years, Zoox has become one of the most authoritative startups in the car industry having raised $500 million in the first round. Currently, the company is estimated at $3.2 billion.

Its self-steering taxis can drive from point A to point B. They are electric and fully autonomous vehicles. They do not have a steering wheel or a control panel. Passengers will find only two seats inside the car.

Besides, the company produces cars from scratch, starting from component parts to assembling.

Aurora

Founded: 2017

Raised: $530 million

Aurora startup was founded in 2017 by Chris Urmson (former CTO at Google's self-driving car team), Sterling Anderson (former director of Tesla autopilot), and Drew Bagnell (founding member at Uber’s Advanced Technology Group).

In 2019, the project raised $530 million in investments. Later Aurora was estimated at $2.5 billion.

Aurora presented its driverless cars for the first time ever at CES 2018, where the company also announced partnership with Volkswagen and Hyundai that supplied software for the company’s driverless vehicles.

In February of 2018, Aurora signed a partnership agreement with Byton, one of the leading producers of electric cars in China. Currently, the company focuses on autonomous vehicles and in the future, it plans to move on to the creation of completely driverless transport.

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