Delphi , UK based global automotive supplier has acquired the Boston-based startup NuTonomy which is currently running its Autonomous Taxi service in Singapore. The British automotive parts supplier has agreed to pay upfront $400 million in cash for the acquisition along with $50 million in earn-outs. Delphi is not very popular in the self-driving vehicles sector like other competitors such as Tesla, Waymo and Uber. A spin-off from General Motors, Delphi is the largest automotive parts suppliers and is very strong in connected and smart cars. They are working towards improving their market share in autonomous technology for last 3 years especially in Singapore and Pittsburgh.
Nutonomy was founded by a group of Techies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the year 2013 and they are operating the Autonomous Taxi service in Singapore from last year. They have also received the permission recently to test their self-driving vehicles in the city of Boston. Glen De Vos, CTO of Delphi explained the reason behind the purchase of NuTonomy that Delphi wants to become a leader in Autonomous vehicles and they are especially looking forward to scale up in commercial vehicles.
Nutonomy was founded by Dr. Emilio Frazzoli and Dr. Karl Iagnemma and is headquartered in Boston with an intention to provide safer and smarter vehicles that can be used for commercial Taxi service. They agreed with the acquisition of Delphi so as to boost the growth of autonomous vehicles since they can get better funding and support for faster production. Karl Iagnemma, the CEO of NuTonomy told media that this acquisition will help both companies to win the race in automated driving sector which is a growing technology where huge automakers are investing millions of dollars into smaller start-ups. He stated in a press statement that “Our mission has always been to radically improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of transportation worldwide”. They have raised a funding $19.6 million earlier from various firms such as Samsung Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and Detroit-based Frontinalis Partners.
Delphi will make use of NuTonomy’s expertise in the self-driving vehicles to scale their production of commercial autonomous vehicles and then later focus on consumer vehicles. NuTonomy’s current headcount of more than 100 which includes 70 engineers and scientists will become Delphi’s employees after this deal. Delphi already has more than 100 employees who work on autonomous vehicles space and NuTonomy’s employees will become a part of this team. They will continue to operate in Singapore and Boston where they run pilot programs. Delphi is planning to conduct self-driving operations across major cities such as Singapore, Silicon Valley, Santa Monica, Pittsburgh and Boston by this year end.
Tesla CEO Elon Mush has expressed his displeasure over this acquisition since they both are competitors for Tesla in the self-driving space. He expressed his groan through a Tweet as below,
NuTonomy CEO stated that their combined technical expertise on both algorithms and science behind autonomous driving vehicles will help them win the race in this growing industry. Their traditional OEM channels and mobility services along with long-standing expertise in self-driving vehicles will boost the growth of both companies. NuTonomy had partnerships with Ride-hailing companies such as Grab and Lyft in the US and also European Car brands such as Citroen and Peugeot SA. Delphi is also working with auto-vision company Mobileye to build their own self-driving car by 2019. Delphi has made similar acquisitions in the Self-Driving sector in the past which includes their purchase of Ottomatika in 2015 which is an Automated driving start-up spun out of Carnegie Mellon University.