Beyond trendy names like Tesla and Alphabet chasing self-driving cars, a host of auto brands and other tech heavyweights are also investing in autonomous R&D. Private companies working in auto tech are attracting record levels of deals and funding, with autonomous driving startups leading the charge. Along with early-stage startups, VCs, and other investors, large corporations are also angling to get a slice of the self-driving pie. From autonomy to telematics to ride sharing, the auto industry has never been at more risk. Get the free 67-page report PDF. Using CB Insights' investment, acquisition, and partnership data, we identified over 40 companies developing road-going self-driving vehicles. They are a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands and telecommunications companies. This list is organized alphabetically and focuses on larger corporate players in the space (as opposed to earlier-stage startups). Companies working on industrial autonomous vehicles were not included in this analysis. A few of the companies or brands listed below belong to the same parent organization but are detailed separately if they are operating distinct autonomous development programs. Some companies are grouped together by key partnerships or alliances. Given the complex web of relationships between these players, other collaborations are also noted in each profile. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of corporations working on autonomous vehicle technology. This brief was originally published on 9/25/2015 and featured 25 select corporations. It was updated and expanded on 5/17/2017, 9/4/2018, and 8/28/2019. Over the last decade, Amazon has spent billions of dollars working on finding ever-better solutions to the last-mile problem in delivery. It's built its own fleet of cargo jets, explored delivery by drone in the form of "Prime Air," and more. More recently, an increasing percentage of that investment has been directed toward autonomous vehicle technology. In February 2019, Amazon invested in Aurora Innovation, an autonomous tech startup run by former executives from two other firms with strong ties to self-driving technology: Google and Tesla. "Autonomous technology has the potential to help make the jobs of our employees and partners safer and more productive, whether it's in a fulfillment center or on the road, and we're excited about the possibilities." The Aurora investment isn't the only autonomous technology play that Amazon is pursuing. In January 2019, the company introduced the Amazon Scout, a six-wheeled electric-powered delivery robot.
One of the most active areas of research and development at the moment is in the push towards self driving cars and autonomous transportation. Should self driving cars be realized it will free up time and reduce stress levels on the daily commute. If perfected it may also be safer than cars being driven by humans. Electric powered autonomous shuttles replacing gas guzzling cars could also have a significant, positive impact on the environment. It is no wonder, therefore that many of the leading players in the autonomous sector, as well as many major car manufacturers, are investing significant amounts of time and expense into developing smart self driving and autonomous solutions. The following list is organized alphabetically and will look at 33 of the leading companies who are currently pioneering self driving car technology. Since 2016 there has been much interest surrounding Project Titan. This is the name given to Apple's development program for self driving cars. However the drive for autonomous cars did not get off to a smooth start. Early setbacks, such as a rumoured hiring freeze following the departure of project head Steve Zadesky hit the program. There was also a rumours of uncertainty within Apple regarding the vision of the project. Since then Apple has tasked Bob Mansfield, a noted hardware executive, with leading their charge towards developing self driving cars. The subsequent appointment of Dan Dodge, the founder and former CEO of QNX indicates that Project Titan now has a firm strategy. This means that Apple is focusing the majority of its efforts on the development of autonomous or self driving cars. Apple documents released in April 2017 revealed that the company was working towards creating an "automated system". To help further their quest towards achieving self driving cars Apple also revealed that they had conducted a recruitment drive. This has seen the company hire some former Waymo and NASA's robotic engineering experts amongst others. The most notable of these recruits was Jaime Waydo, a senior engineer who had worked at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as on various Waymo projects. This recruitment drive has served to kick start Project Titan. Following the new recruits arrival vehicular patent activity connected to Apple has noticeably increased. Since 2018 Apple has been fleshing out its autonomous cars fleet. In the summer of 2018 the company officially had 66 vehicles registered with the California DMV most of which were also operating on public roads around the state. This means that Apple has the third largest fleet of self driving cars in California, behind only Waymo and GM Cruise.
Eighteen months ago, Uber's self-driving car unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group, was valued at $7.25 billion following a $1 billion investment from Toyota, DENSO and SoftBank's Vision Fund. Now, it's up for sale and a competing autonomous vehicle technology startup is in talks with Uber to buy it, according to three sources familiar with the deal. Aurora Innovation, the startup founded by three veterans of the autonomous vehicle industry who led programs at Google, Tesla and Uber, is in negotiations to buy Uber ATG. Terms of the deal are still unknown, but sources say the two companies have been in talks since October and it is far along in the process. An Uber spokesperson declined to comment, citing that the company's general policy is not to comment on these sorts of inquiries.
In the race to start the world's first driving business without human drivers, everyone is chasing Alphabet Inc.'s Waymo. The Google sibling has cleared the way to beat its nearest rivals, General Motors Co. and a couple of other players, by at least a year to introduce driverless cars to the public. A deal reached in January to buy thousands of additional Chrysler Pacifica minivans, which get kitted out with sensors that can see hundreds of yards in any direction, puts Waymo's lead into stark relief. No other company is offering for-hire rides yet, let alone preparing to carry passengers in more than one city this year. GM plans to start a ride-hailing service with its Chevrolet Bolt--the one with no steering wheel or pedals, the ultimate goal in autonomous technology--late next year, assuming the U.S. government has protocols in place by then. SoftBank Vision Fund, the gigantic Japanese tech investor, backed that plan on May 31 by dropping $2.25 billion into GM Cruise Holdings, the automaker's autonomous drive unit. Most of the others trying solve the last remaining self-driving puzzles are more cautious, targeting 2020 or later. The road to autonomy is long and exceedingly complicated. It can also be dangerous: Two high-profile efforts, from Uber Technologies Inc. and Tesla Inc., were involved in crashes that caused the death of a pedestrian (in the first known case of a person killed by a self-driving vehicle) and a driver using an assistance program touted as a precursor to autonomy. One of Waymo's autonomous vans was involved in a collision just last week.
Automakers have already spent at least $16 billion developing self-driving technology, with the promise of someday creating fully autonomous vehicles.2 What has been the result? Although it seems that we have more promises than actual progress, some encouraging experiments are now under way, and there have been intermediate benefits in the form of driver-assist safety features. Engineers started on this quest to automate driving several decades ago, when passenger vehicles first began deploying cameras, radar, and limited software controls. In the 1990s, automakers introduced radar-based adaptive cruise control and dynamic traction control for braking.