While self-driving tech receives the lion's share of media attention, a host of less-heralded startups are targeting specific pieces of automotive infrastructure or components.

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As startups focused on autonomous driving grab headlines, corporations are jockeying for a competitive edge in auto tech through startup acquisitions and investments, as well as partnerships and internal initiatives.

As we’ve previously discussed in analyses of startups unbundling Procter & Gamble, unbundling the bank, or even unbundling PetSmart, emerging companies often focus on tackling specific categories or verticals, rather than attacking incumbents broadly (hence the term “unbundling”).

Using CB Insights data, we identified a host of private startups that are working not only in self-driving tech and automated driver assistance but also to improve different services and products associated with the auto industry. These range from high-profile autonomous driving startups like comma.ai, backed by Andreessen Horowitz, to companies focused on enhancing more traditional elements, like auto repair and tire technology.

Tech giants like Apple and major automakers like GM are also scrambling to secure ties to adjacent verticals, most notably the ride-hailing industry, but ride-hailing and car-sharing are not included in the infographic below.

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In March, General Motors put its stake in the ground in the realm of driving tech startups with its acquisition of Cruise Automation. Cruise had raised just $18.8M, but GM valued the company at over $1B.

Media and investor interest in startups working on self-driving or ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) tech has since exploded, with companies like comma.ai, Nauto, nuTonomy, and others garnering headlines and raising funding.

While self-driving tech — which is included in the infographic above — receives the lion’s share of media attention, a host of less-heralded startups are targeting specific pieces of automotive infrastructure or components. For example, companies including Quanergy, LeddarTech, and TriLumina are seeking to capitalize on the self-driving revolution by dramatically lowering the cost of expensive LiDAR sensors.

Startups such as Veniam and Savari are developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-anything (V2X) communications, another autonomous-adjacent technology field. With increasing automotive connectivity seemingly inevitable, vehicle cybersecurity has also begun to emerge as a focus, with newer players like Karamba Security joining others such as Argus Cyber Security.

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  • http://cbinsights.com/ Emily Veach

    There’s a great article on Fortune by Kirsten Korosec, who lays out the argument that consolidation is inevitable: http://fortune.com/2015/06/23/auto-tech-race/

    “Automakers are already linked by a series of joint ventures and equity stakes. In the industry today, there are 16 joint ventures, 17 assembly alliances, 15 technical alliances and nine deals where an automaker holds equity in another, Alix Partners says.”

  • Daniel Girald

    It’s quite surprising that engine designs from Achates Power and Pinnacle Engines still didn’t reach the market. Apart from automobile applications not just in developed countries but also in emerging markets, there are other segments which would benefit from their technologies such as aviation and marine. Had a horizontal-cylinder version of the Achates Power engine been released, it would be great for the general aviation market that nowadays is pretty much restricted to two piston-engine manufacturers who keep focusing on ancient designs.