Otto plans self-driving trucks for 2017. nuTonomy looks to raise. Unbundling logistics providers.
Pressure on traditional freight and logistics providers has ratcheted up from all angles, as tech corporates and startups alike continue pushing into the space:
Flexport, a freight forwarding tech startup, raised a $65M Series B at a valuation “well over” $300M.
Following its acquisition by Uber, self-driving trucking startup Otto outlined plans to expand its fleet and forge partnerships, aiming to begin hauling freight as soon as next year. Uber is also recruiting heavily to expand its UberEats delivery services internationally.
The WSJ detailed Amazon’s ambitions to not just supplement its logistical partners, but supplant them altogether with a growing number of delivery hubs and industry hires. Amazon is also building its logistics assets by leasing aircraft, buying trucks, and developing delivery drones.
These tech companies are targeting major cost drivers with automation (long-haul trucking, last-mile fulfillment) and attacking stodgy, traditionally-managed processes with software and analytics (freight forwarding, routing).
Besides automakers, suppliers, and software developers, semiconductor companies are yet another stakeholder looking to cash in on the rise of self-driving and connected vehicles.
Two of these players made news today, as Qualcomm was reported to be in talks to acquire NXP Semiconductors, a deal likely worth north of $30B. Both companies are listed on the Nasdaq (although NXP is Netherlands-based).
Qualcomm has been looking to diversify its smartphone-heavy business, and NXP would bring the San Diego chipmaker healthy revenue streams from growth markets.
Following its acquisition of Freescale last year, NXP is currently the world’s largest provider of automotive silicon, with over a third of its total revenue now coming from the sector.
Nvidia, which was early to pivot towards the self-driving space, also unveiled its new Xavier system-on-a-chip for autonomous vehicles. A Strategy& forecast this week had new tech and software suppliers grabbing an increasing share of the automotive profit pool at the expense of incumbents.