Ford-partnered Argo AI buys LiDAR company, Delphi buys autonomous driving software maker

Ford-partnered Argo AI buys LiDAR company, Delphi buys autonomous driving software maker

Ford, Delphi deals come on the heals of GM investment in self-driving technologies.

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October 30, 2017

Cleveland, Ohio – Automakers, and now Tier 1 suppliers, continue to open their wallets in the pursuit of self-driving cars. Supplier Delphi is paying $450 million to buy autonomous driving startup nuTonomy Inc., while Argo AI, an autonomous driving startup that won a $1 billion investment from Ford in January, is buying light detection and ranging (LiDAR) producer Princeton Lightwave for an undisclosed sum.

The Argo/Princeton deal comes about a week after General Motors announced its acquisition of LiDAR maker Strobe Inc.

“These sensors are crucial to creating a three-dimensional view of the world that helps autonomous vehicles find where they are on the road and detect other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists,” Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky said in a blog post. He added that adding a LiDAR producer “will help us extend the range and resolution needed to achieve self-driving capability in challenging urban environments.”

At Delphi, the supplier is paying $400 million upfront for nuTonomy and another $50 million in earn-outs in the future. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Karl Iagnemma and Dr. Emilio Frazzoli, nuTonomy is developing automated driving software designed to support automated driving on demand (ADoD).

Delphi officials say the deal will swell its team of automated driving researchers by more than 100 people, most of whom are engineers and scientists.

Delphi President and CEO Kevin Clark said the deal “enhances our competitive position as the industry’s most formidable provider of autonomous mobility solutions. This transaction is another example of our ongoing dedication to developing, implementing, and commercializing the highest performing and safest automated driving system available.”

Delphi plans to have 60 autonomous cars on the road across three continents by year-end, with the goal to further accelerate global fleet expansion and technology development.

nuTonomy Co-Founder and CEO Karl Iagnemma, said, “Joining forces with Delphi brings us one step closer to achieving our goal with a market-leading partner whose vision directly aligns with ours.”

About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

rschoenberger@gie.net