Aurora, a company founded by immigrants from Google, Tesla and Uber, began working with auto concerns
Last week turned out to be very productive for Aurora, a startup that is developing robot cars. This company was founded by immigrants from Google, Tesla, Uber. On Monday, Aurora executives announced a partnership with Fiat Chrysler, on Tuesday with Volkswagen and Friday with Hyundai. Hyundai, therefore, has become one of the last companies that are trying to take their market share in the field of robomobiles.
These deals offer greater opportunities for developers of robomobiles. They receive both investment and product support from partners. In other words, robomobiles can enter the car market without any problems.
Since automatic machines are now a trend, car concerns cannot get around this area with their attention. Therefore, major players began to take part in the development of autopilot means several years ago. So, the company General Motors began work back in 2016, then it acquired the Cruise startup for about $ 500 million. In 2018, it sold its Honda division, which strengthened the position of all participants in the transaction in the market.
In 2017, Ford invested 1 billion in Argo AI. The media reported that Volkswagen also plans to invest in the same company. As far as we know, the company fulfilled its intention, though not with investments - Aurora was bought out by the automobile giant .
In April, Toyota announced a billion-dollar deal with Uber, while the Japanese concern Softbank, as well as auto parts manufacturer Denso, also took part in the deal. Toyota previously invested in Uber - $ 300 million in 2016 and another $ 500 million in 2018.
Uber also collaborated with Volvo since 2016. This week, Volvo and Uber unveiled a prototype robotic car, which is based on the XC90 from Volvo.
Well, now Hyundai and Fiat Chrysler have begun to collaborate with Aurora. True, the form of cooperation is somewhat different from other transactions. So, GM and Ford are the main shareholders of Cruise and Argo. At the same time, Uber and Aurora remain predominantly independent companies.
True, Aurora may have problems. The fact is that a startup creates autopilot technologies that can be adapted to the needs of any car manufacturer. But since most companies are developing their own robotic vehicles, Aurora may simply be left with nothing.
There is a far from non-zero probability that Hyundai and Aurora in the near future will become very close partners that depend on each other. The point is that Aurora will produce autopilot systems exclusively for Hyundai.
While Fiat Chrysler announced a deal with Aurora this week, it’s still unclear what each party gets and what the two companies have commitments in the framework of the cooperation. In addition, Fiat Chrysler has partnered with Waymo, a division of Google that develops its own robot cars.
Nissan and Renault, two companies that are closely related to each other, have not yet decided on which strategy to choose in relation to the development of autopilot technologies. In February, information appeared that they had entered into an agreement with Waymo. But there was no announcement of the deal. Perhaps the problem is that the CEO of both companies Carlos Ghosn is accused of breaking the law, law enforcement officers are investigating his case.
This week, Nissan and Renault announced a new project - the opening of their own research center for the development of autopilot technologies in Israel.
By the way, Waymo is also in a rather difficult position. This company has been working on creating robomobiles much longer than anyone else, the company launched its robotax service before many other companies. One would think that Waymo could continue to work on its own, but no - if all the major participants in the market of robomobiles and ordinary cars make deals, then Waymo will remain with advanced technology without the ability to integrate it into various models of cars from different manufacturers. As far as you can understand, the company is in no hurry to license its technology, which would be a logical move on its part.
But if the company nevertheless enters into partnership agreements with other market participants, then there should be no problems, most likely, Waymo will be able to fit perfectly with the union of Renault, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler.