Delphi Automotive (Delphi), one of the world’s largest automotive parts manufacturers, has announced the acquisition of MIT spin-off self-driving car company nuTonomy for US$450 million. An earnout of $50 million will be retained until the company proves its profitability.
UK-based Delphi entered the autonomous driving race in 2011, investing heavily in sensors. In 2015 the company road-tested an Audi SQ5 using only 1% human assistance on the 5,000 km drive from San Francisco to New York.
NuTonomy meanwhile is the brainchild of MIT Robotic Mobility Group Director Karl Iagnemma, an expert in providing full-stack software solutions for self-driving cars.
The two companies share a commitment to self-driving taxis and forming strategic global partnerships.
Delphi is swiftly deploying its Automated Mobility on Demand (AMoD) plan. In June the company partnered with Transdev, a French-based international transport operator. According to Delphi CTO Glen De Vos, the acquisition of nuTonomy aims at accelerating Delphi’s R&D and AMoD commercialization. De Vos also expressed the view that turning self-driving cars into consumer products will be a lengthy process, whereas logistics and public transportation opportunities will develop at a much faster rate.
To a similar end, nuTonomoy will introduce self-driving taxis in Singapore beginning the second quarter of 2018, and is partnering with Uber-rival Lyft to put thousands of self-driving vehicles on Boston roads.
At present, Delphi is active in both Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley, while nuTonomy is headquartered in Boston. The former has made clustered investments in data/software platforms like Control-Tec, Movimento, Otonomo, and Ottomatika; LiDAR manufacturers such as Quanergy and Innoviz; and partnered with industry leaders like Intel, Audi, BMW and Blackberry. NuTonomy already has Citroën and Lyft as partners.
The acquisition will strengthen industry alliances and add 100 employees — including 70 engineers and scientists to Delphi’s 100 member Autonomous Driving (AD) team.
Journalist: Lulu Qiu | Localization: Meghan Han | Editor: Michael Sarazen