Much like automakers (and other corporations across the spectrum), aerospace companies have also been establishing venture units to tap into private markets, with Airbus launching its CVC in 2016 and Boeing establishing HorizonX this year.
These corporations are interested in bringing fleet visibility, advanced materials, and computer vision to airplanes, and auto tech lends considerable strategic value to that ambition. See the research brief for more on aerospace corporates and their other investments.
Aerospace startups are also exploring electrification; this week low-cost carrier EasyJet announced it would join forces with YC-backed startup Wright Electric to develop a fully electric commercial airliner within a decade. On the other hand, Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures have also backed Zunum Aero, another startup working on hybrid-electric regional aircraft.
Keeping up with the OEMs
With automakers like Ford and Daimler sustaining their pace of startup activity (the latter snapping up flinc yesterday), we mapped out and analyzed dealmaking activity of the top 5 automakers in private startups. If you’re an expert research client, check it out.
This week in auto tech
Dyson makes it official: The vacuum maker’s EV program has made rounds in the rumor mill ever since its acquisition of Sakti3 in 2015; Dyson also has poached several Aston Martin execs this year. The company has now disclosed plans to launch a “radical” electric car in 2020.
The cost of AV development: More details emerged around the spend demanded by AV-related R&D, with HERE Maps spending $767M on R&D in 2016 (or 55% of its sales). Last week also saw revelations on Waymo’s $1.1B spend through 2015 (more on Waymo’s internal valuation below).
Lyft‘s Ford partnership, IPO plans: The #2 US ride-hailing player has stolen the spotlight with a steady stream of major announcements. Ford has also joined Lyft’s autonomy platform, putting it in an interesting position with crosstown rival (and Lyft backer/collaborator) GM.
Startups investing in startups: Major transportation companies (TNCs) continue to spread their capital among other startups; Didi Chuxing invested in Chinese used-car marketplace Renrenche this week, while Grab also backed self-driving startup Drive.ai.