Guess what who is just taking over the Boston based self-driving car setup NuTonomy? Yes, you guessed it right; the world’s largest automotive suppliers, Delphi! In a deal which was announced today, Delphi is expected to pay $400 million as upfront while the rest $50 million to be paid out in earn-outs.
When it comes to self-driving cars, people usually hear the likes of Delphi’s bigger competitors like Uber, Waymo, and Tesla and unsurprisingly, Delphi isn’t that famous in this range. Though the now UK based, once a GM spinoff, Delphi, has been trying to showcase its autonomous technologies since the past three years, especially in Singapore & PittsBurgh.
Similarly, NuTonomy, a startup at the MIT during 2013, has been having the privilege to operate its self-driving taxis in Singapore, since 2016. The same startup had also been pushing forward to test its autonomous cars in Boston as well, and just recently got the permission to do so.
This is the most recent acquisition involving a handshake of millions of dollars, in the industry related to automated driving. There has been this custom where big auto companies and suppliers have placed their trust into small startups by investing a huge portion of their money, in the race of becoming the first one to deploy a fully self-driving car. By this deal, the NuTonomy and Delphi might just have got a great chance to win this race as noted by the NuTonomy’s CEO Karl Lagnemma.
In between a conference call with some reporters today he stated, “We have, between us, really outstanding technical expertise — on the scientific side, on the algorithmic side,”. He also mentioned that “We have now deep and long-standing expertise on the automotive engineering side. And we have conduits, pathways, to selling it to all the various businesses that autonomous driving can impact, through traditional OEM channels, and through mobility services.”
Continuing on he also commented that “So I feel great about the fact that this acquisition puts the combined team in the pole position to be one of the winners in the global automated driving race.” However, according to both the companies, this wouldn’t affect their preexisting partnerships involving the automated car concept.
Now, at the Delphi’s Tech Office, the Delphi’s chief technology officer remarked that this takeover by Delhi would boost up what his company has been doing ever since; to put a self-driving automated car in the market, even if that means that no single person would actually own that vehicle.
“The market for consumer vehicles is going to be slow-moving, and that’s going to take some time for the cars you and I buy, that we drive,” he said. “There’s no question that in the commercial sector, that automated mobility on demand, logistics on demand, commercial services, transportation services — this is an area where automated driving has really accelerated.”
According to the terms and conditions of the deal, NuTonomy’s more than 100 employees, including 70 engineers and scientists would work together with a Delphi’s workforce of around 100 members, all coming under a single self-driving team.
After the acquisition is final, Delphi would be able to have automated car operations in not just Singapore and Pittsburgh but also Boston, Santa Monica, and the great Silicon Valley. While on the other hand, NuTonomy wouldn’t just come to a halt altogether but would be working on its pilot programs, while being based in Boston. The prospects of this transaction look bright as Delphi would be able to have at least 60 self-driving cars being driven across three different continents, just within a year!