Carmera, the rare NYC-based auto tech startup, unstealthed this week with $6.4M in funding led by Matrix Partners. The two-year-old company has been quietly collecting data for its 3D mapping solution, using a unique model of partnering with delivery fleets to install its sensor platform.
Other startups are also tackling the high-definition and/or 3D mapping opportunity with both proprietary and crowdsourced approaches. These companies hope to serve autonomous driving developers, cities, and beyond.
We used the CB Insights platform to map out (sorry) a few of the players in this field. (Subscribers can click here to access the comparison directly.)
Mapping has also seen M&A activity among established players hoping to gain a foothold in this service layer. Nokia’s HERE mapping unit is now jointly owned by a German consortium of Audi, BMW, and Daimler, with Intel bying a 15% stake in January. Mapping veteran TomTom also acquired Autonomous in January to beef up its 3D sensor and mapping capabilities.
As with the auto tech ecosystem as a whole, mapping partnerships have become commonplace. HERE and Mobileye have partnered for their crowdsourced mapping platform, while this week Bosch and TomTom also teamed up to jointly develop high-resolution maps for AV applications.
One of last week’s news snippets was Bloomberg’s spotlight on the numerous battery megafactories being planned for Europe and beyond.
Inspired in part by Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory, these plants will help drive a multifold increase in global production capacity, further pushing down lithium-ion battery costs (and cascading down to electric vehicles).
However, these large-scale projects are also depending on a spike in demand from EV and utility storage markets in order to deliver returns on the significant capital being invested.
With concerns already brewing in the auto industry about general manufacturing overcapacity (especially in markets like China), the uptake of EVs over the coming decade will either lead to a boon for those investing in these megafactories, or a further glut of battery capacity.
The challenging path for newcomers hoping to develop novel battery chemistries is well known, but there is also the outside chance that such a revolution could further disrupt the lithium-ion status quo.
More tech players are beginning to eye the trucking market, with Waymo now fielding a semi truck to gather data for its initial exploration of autonomous trucking. Action is coming from the electrification side as well, with Tesla announcing a September reveal for its electric semi truck.