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Go Home for the Holidays in an Autonomous Vehicle

Go Home for the Holidays in an Autonomous Vehicle
November 24, 2021

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Happy Thanksgiving Eve to all of you who celebrate. Were your groceries delivered on time? Is your iPad locked and loaded with recipe instructions? With all the modern conveniences of holiday planning at our fingertips, where do we stand on robotic assistance with the gas (and brake) pedals? I'll be traveling upstate this evening to spend the holiday with my partner's family in a leisurely, turkey-free holiday celebration. The dread of a two-hour trip extending into the three-plus territory is real. If I drive, I expect a tense neck as I make my way through agitated drivers mentally preparing for family time. If my partner drives, I can also expect a tense neck from entrusting my and my cat's life into the hands of a honk-heavy New Yorker. It makes me wonder...what's the latest in autonomous driving?

Trust is the name of the game, with autonomous vehicle companies seeking to improve upon road safety rather than contribute to its danger. Tesla has gone the furthest of any autonomous vehicle developer. The EV company has developed full self-driving (FSD) software in its Model 3 car. A recent test drive with CNN reporter Matt McFarland was less than ideal. The human supervising the drive needed to intervene about every three blocks on Brooklyn's Flatbush Avenue. The beta software is available for $10K. Still, the product is making progress.

For startups in the space, funding is taking off. Here are the three top valuations in AI self-driving cars.

  1. Cruise is building self-driving electric cars for the future of auto transport. Its offering, the Poppy, is built on the foundation of the Chevy Bolt. Its future endeavors include the Cruise Origin, with no steering wheel and no mirrors, just passenger seating (photo above). The company raised $2.8BN in January of this year, bringing its valuation to $30BN. 

  2. Waymo is Google's self-driving technology startup. It has passenger vehicles, ride-hailing autos, and long-haul trucking options. Alphabet provided some initial investment but has invited T. Rowe Price Associates and Fidelity Management to the cap table. The company's valuation is just over $30BN.

  3. Argo AI's primary investments come from Volkswagon and Ford, reaching an impressive $7.5BN valuation just five years after its founding. The founders are passionate about using robotics to change the world.

For now, autonomous vehicles remain a costly investment, with the prospect of fully autonomous cars still decades away. Until then, drive safely please.

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493 Companies | 88 Funding Activities | 49 M&A Deals

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Funding & Deal Highlights:
 

 

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Our Kettle raises $25MM from aCrew Capital

Climatetech • Round A • Berkeley, CA
 

GoVryl raises $20MM from Alpha Edison

Influencer Marketing • Round B • Irvine, CA
 

Helaina raises $20MM from Spark Capital

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NoBroker raises $250MM from General Atlantic

Real Estate Tech • Round E • Bengaluru, India
 

WatchBox raises $165MM from The Radcliff Companies

Watch Resellers • Equity • Hollywood, FL
 

Luma Health raises $16MM from U.S. Venture Partners

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Payhawk raises $112MM from Greenoaks Capital Management

Fintech • Round B • London, UK
 

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