In BriefAutonomous taxi startup nuTonomy has just raised $16 million in Series A funding, hoping to use the money to bring autonomous cars into reality by its self-imposed deadline in 2018.
Uber Has New Competition
The Series A was participated in by prior investors Fontinalis Partners and Signal Ventures; Samsung Ventures and EDBI (an investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board) also contributed to the round.
The company, in a race with heavyweights such as Uber Technologies Inc., General Motors Co. and Alphabet Inc., vows to bring self-driving taxis to the road by 2018.
The company counts the government of Singapore as one of its main partners. The autonomous startup currently runs a fleet of R&D vehicles in Singapore and is the first private company approved to test on public roads.
nuTonomy is also testing in Michigan and in the United Kingdom, where they have partnered up with Jaguar Land Rover.
The startup is promising to develop the whole suite for driverless taxis, from autonomous navigation software (nuCore), fleet routing and management, remote vehicle teleoperation, and even smartphone-based ride requesting are in the works.
The firm uses retrofitted Mitsubishi iMiev electric cars and is expected to add Renault Zoe EVs in its autonomous cab service later this year.
nuTonomy is far from the only player making moves in the field. Japanese automobile major Toyota Motor Corp announced an investment in Uber, which also developing self-driving cars. Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing. Even General Motors has entered the profitable market, announcing a $500 million investment in Lyft, to develop an on-demand network of self-driving cars.
Although Uber and Lyft have made great strides within North America, it certainly seems the Asian market is the next hotspot, and are willing to experiment with autonomous cars.