Waymo, Kodiak, and my own employer, Cruise, all announced fundraising in the last 48 hours.
Waymo announced a monster $2.5 billion funding round, consisting of a wide array of investors:
“Alphabet, Andreessen Horowitz, AutoNation, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Magna International, Mubadala Investment Company, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Temasek, and Tiger Global.”
Kodiak announced a seemingly smaller round of investment from Bridgestone, the tire company. Or, more accurately, Bridgestone announced an investment of undisclosed size into Kodiak.
“ Bridgestone Americas (Bridgestone) today announced it…
Sri Anumakonda walked through the Capstone Project for the Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program, and it is such a nice write-up!
Sri is a teenage phenom who combines an engaging social media profile with impressive projects on a wide variety of software engineering projects.
I particularly appreciate Sri’s summary of the neural networks in his perception stack. Not only did Sri train a network to detect and classify traffic lights, which is a component of the Capstone, but he also trained MobileNet-SSD to detect cars and pedestrians, which goes above and beyond the requirements.
Several years have now passed since I was part of the team that built this project for Udacity. We had so much fun, and I’m delighted to see that students like Sri are still enjoying it!
Originally published at http://davidsilver.blog on June 15, 2021.
The autonomous aerial vehicle company, Kitty Hawk, founded and run by my former Udacity boss, Sebastian Thrun, has acquired 3D Robotics, the drone company founded by Chris Anderson. Anderson will become COO.
Some personal/professional news: I’ll be joining @kittyhawkcorp (Larry Page & Sebastian Thrun’s eVTOL company) as COO as part of a 3DR acquisition. The path from drones to remotely-piloted passenger aircraft is becoming increasingly clear, especially from a FAA cert basis…
- Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) June 11, 2021
I love this Domino’s commercial, featuring Nuro’s self-driving delivery vehicles.
The commercial played tonight during the Suns-Nuggets NBA playoff game. According to the YouTube date, this commercial has been up since April, but tonight was the first time I saw it. Autonomous vehicles go prime time!
As a side note, I inherited the Phoenix Suns from my father thirty years ago, which was an absolute disaster for the last ten years of my life. But this season has been so much fun!
Originally published at http://davidsilver.blog on June 14, 2021.
Last week I wrote about Faction, a Y-Combinator start-up creating autonomous motorcycle-class vehicles. I’m now listening to an episode of The Eccentric CEO podcast in which host Aman Agarwal interviews Faction founder Ain McKendrick.
McKendrick talks a lot about how thoroughly motorcycle-class vehicles like rickshaws and scooters have penetrated Asia, but how rare they are in North America. Food for thought.
Originally published at http://davidsilver.blog on June 12, 2021.
The title jests a little bit, of course. This is awesome. Graze — Autonomous Mowing.
“Graze is building electric, autonomous lawn mowers specifically for the commercial landscaping industry to counter labor shortages and rising wages in the US.”
What I love about this is how huge the opportunity is and how simultaneously how trivial it seems. That’s kind of a perfect combination.
Graze touts commercial landscaping as a $100 billion industry. I believe it. I’ve always heard just how insanely expensive turf management is.
This isn’t a vehicle traveling 25 mph down city streets. It’s not even a…
University of Toronto computer science professor Raquel Urtasun is launching a self-driving car startup called Waabi, as my Forbes editor Alan Ohnsman reports. Urtasun created the KITTI dataset, which remains a standard benchmark for robotic perception. She also joined Uber ATG as their chief scientist.
My friends at Uber ATG always had great things to say about her, so I’m excited she’s going out on her own. It’s also a natural result of Uber’s sale of ATG to Aurora, which is a minority investor in Waabi.
Big news on Friday! The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved Cruise to offer a driverless autonomous vehicle service to the public.
“Cruise is the first entrant into the CPUC’s Driverless Pilot program, in which passengers can ride in a test vehicle that operates without a driver
in the vehicle.”
California Public Utilities Commission
CPUC regulates taxis and other transportation carriers in the state. As always, Kirsten Korosec at TechCrunch nicely summarizes the news.
“In order to launch a commercial service for passengers here in the state of California, you need both the California DMV and the California PUC to…
Trucks is the preeminent mobility-focused venture capital firm in San Francisco, and arguably the world. They’ve been a big fish in a small pond, and the pond has been getting bigger, so now they are getting bigger.
Reilly Brennan, one of the founders of the firm, is well-known in the industry for his weekly Future of Transportation newsletter.
Trucks’ portfolio includes AEye, Bear Flag Robotics, Gatik, Joby, May Mobility…
Yesterday I took my first ride in a Cruise autonomous vehicle! It was so much fun.
You can see in the photo that my car was named Tamale. Cruise names its vehicles playfully 🤗
Tamale took me from Cruise headquarters to the Pacific Heights neighborhood and back. That took a little under an hour, in San Francisco traffic.
Along the way we went up and down lots of hills, through several construction zones, and across multi-way intersections.
I sat in the back, while two Cruise technical operators sat in the front.
The vehicle’s ability to navigate really complex situations amazed…