Tesla Working on Full Self-Driving Mode, Extending AI Lead 

Tesla Model car

Tesla’s goal to release its level 5 Full Self Driving (FSD) mode autopilot capability in 2021 was deemed unrealistic by the CEO of competitor Waymo in a recent interview.  Tesla is the only autonomous vehicle manufacturer using real-time cameras, rather than pre-mapped Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) to guide vehicle movement. Tesla also…

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Locus Robotics raises $150 million to scale its warehouse robotics platform

Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics, a Wilmington, Massachusetts-based warehouse robotics startup, today announced it has raised $150 million in series E funding at a $1 billion post-money valuation. The company says the funding will allow it to accelerate product innovation and global expansion. Locus expects that in the next four years, over a million warehouse robots will be installed and that the number of warehouses using them will grow tenfold.

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Recogni raises $48.9 million for AI-powered perception chips

Prism Chip

Recogni, a startup designing an AI-powered vision recognition module for autonomous vehicles, today announced it raised $48.9 million. The company says the funds will help it bring its perception product to market while expanding the size of its engineering and go-to-market teams.

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Plus raises $200 million to develop its autonomous truck platform

Plus.ai

Plus, a startup developing autonomous truck technology, today announced it has completed a $200 million series B round led by new investors Guotai Junan, Hedosophia, and Wanxiang. Plus plans to use the funds to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of its automated trucking system. As the company begins mass production in 2021, Plus says it will develop a sales, engineering, and support network to help fleets integrate its platform into their daily operations.

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Apple’s self-driving car strategy may be stuck in neutral

KIA Motors factory

After weeks of confusion and contradictory news, it has almost become confirmed that Hyundai-Kia will start manufacturing Apple’s mysterious self-driving electric vehicle at one of its factories in 2024. Or later. Or not at all.
As is with nearly all news coming from Apple, the report is shrouded in secrecy, unconfirmed facts, and lots of quotes from anonymous sources. But this latest news does have some key points that, if true, paint a clearer picture about Apple’s self-driving plans — and leave many more questions unanswered about the future of the company.

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Pony.ai raises $100 million more to advance its autonomous vehicle tech

Self-driving car startup Pony.ai today announced it has raised $100 million in an extension of its series C round. The funds bring the company’s total raised to over $1 billion at a post-money valuation of $5.3 billion, up from $3 billion as of February 2020.
Some experts predict the pandemic will hasten the adoption of autonomous transportation technologies. Despite needing disinfection, driverless cars can potentially minimize the risk of spreading disease. For example, Pony.ai says it has delivered more than 15,000 packages of food and health kits in California during the COVID-19 health crisis.

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Slync.io raises $60 million to automate supply chain processes

Truck parked

Slync.io, a shipping and logistics process automation company, today announced it has closed a $60 million series B funding round. The company says it will leverage the investment to continue serving its customers, grow its physical presence in Europe and Asia, and expand its core teams.

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The Fusion Project aims to optimize data collection from vehicles

The Fusion Project, which promises to provide a more efficient way to collect the data required to train AI models for autonomous vehicles, today launched with Airbiquity, Cloudera, NXP Semiconductors, Teraki, and Wind River onboard. The goal is to compress the data collected from autonomous vehicles to the point that it becomes possible to update the AI models employed in an autonomous vehicle faster.

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Verusen raises $8 million to reconcile supply chain data using AI

Verusen Platform

Atlanta, Georgia-based Verusen, a startup leveraging AI to build a connected supply chain, today raised $8 million in a series A round co-led by Forte Ventures and Flyover Capital. The company says it will put the funds toward R&D as it expands the size of its workforce.

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Wingcopter raises $22 million to ramp up delivery drone production

Wingcopter, a Darmstadt, Germany-based drone manufacturer, today announced that it raised $22 million in a funding round led by Xplorer Capital and Futury Regio Growth Fund. The company says it will use the proceeds to expand its health care-related activities (including the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines), prepare for the launch of its next-gen drones, set up a partially automated production facility, and grow its team at a new U.S. complex.

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TripActions raises $155 million to help enterprises analyze travel and expense data

TripActions, a booking and management platform that offers enterprises real-time data, automated reporting, and insights into business travel and expenses, has raised $155 million in a series E round of funding co-led by existing investor Andreessen Horowitz. The Palo Alto, California-based company is now valued at $5 billion, up from the $4 billion valuation at its series D round 18 months ago.

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Aurora partners with PacCar to develop driverless trucks

Aurora driverless trucks

Self-driving startup Aurora today announced a partnership with PacCar to build and deploy autonomous trucks. It’s Aurora’s first commercial application in trucking, and the company says it will combine its engineering teams around an “accelerated development program” to create driverless-capable trucks starting with the Peterbilt 479 and the Kenworth T680.

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Cox acquires AI/3D scanner maker Fyusion to aid used car dealerships

When car dealers sell new vehicles, customers can rely on manufacturer-provided 3D models that look exactly like the cars they’re about to purchase. But that isn’t the case for used cars, which commonly have dings and other issues that must be disclosed to prospective buyers. To aid in the vehicle imaging and disclosure process, media conglomerate Cox Enterprises today announced it is acquiring Fyusion, a maker of AI and 3D capture tools, to help auto dealers rapidly scan used cars for resale.

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Oxbotica raises $47 million to bring autonomy to vehicles in challenging environments

Oxbotica, a U.K.-based developer of autonomous vehicle software, today announced it has raised $47 million in a series B round led by BP Ventures. The startup says the funding will be used to accelerate commercial deployment of its software platform across key industries and markets.

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Nuro becomes first company to receive commercial autonomous vehicle permit from California DMV

Hours after announcing that it acquired self-driving truck startup Ike, Nuro revealed it’s the first company to receive permission from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to charge a fee and receive compensation for its driverless delivery service.

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Nuro acquires self-driving truck startup Ike

Driverless truck company Ike today announced that it’s been acquired by Nuro, the autonomous delivery vehicle startup, for an undisclosed amount. Ike says it’s already begun work on integration of its 55 employees and technology and that joining forces with Nuro will allow it to “move faster on an ambitious mission to make people’s lives better with automated vehicles.”

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Cargo.One raises $42 million to algorithmically match cargo with air routes

Cargo.One, a real-time booking engine for the air cargo industry, today announced it has raised $42 million. The Berlin-based company says the funds will be put toward product R&D as it looks to expand internationally, particularly in North America and Asia, and triples its headcount to 70 employees.

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Tive raises $12 million to track freight shipments with sensors and algorithms

Tive, a startup whose platform captures real-world data to inform supply chain decisions, today raised $12 million in a venture equity deal. Tive says it’ll invest the funds in product R&D as it looks to expand geographically and hire on new workers.

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Parallel Domain raises $11 million to generate synthetic data for AI model training

Parallel Domain, a startup developing a synthetic data generation platform for AI and machine learning applications, today emerged from stealth with $11 million in funding. The company, which has over 25 employees and customers in auto manufacturing and drone delivery, plans to use the capital to accelerate its go-to-market efforts as it expands its product footprint.

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