RapidDeploy raises $29M for a cloud-based dispatch platform aimed at 911 centers

Rapid Deploy

RapidDeploy, which provides computer-aided dispatch technology as a cloud-based service for 911 centers, has closed a round of $29 million, a Series B round of funding that will be used both to grow its business, and to continue expanding the SaaS tools that it provides to its customers. In the startup’s point of view, the cloud is essential to running emergency response in the most efficient manner.

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Toyota subsidiary acquires Lyft self-driving division for $550M

Lyft

Woven Planet, a newly established Toyota subsidiary, today announced plans to acquire the self-driving division of Lyft, Level 5, in a deal worth $550 million. The companies say that the purchase will bring together roughly 1,200 scientists and software engineers from Level 5, Woven Planet, and researchers from Toyota Research Institute already working together with Woven Planet.

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Oxbotica raises $13.8M from Ocado to build autonomous vehicle tech for the online grocer’s logistics network

Ocado smart platform

Ocado, the UK online grocer that has been making strides reselling its technology to other grocery companies to help them build and run their own online ordering-and-delivery operations, is making an investment today into what it believes will be the next chapter of how that business will grow: it is taking a £10 million ($13.8 million) stake in Oxbotica, a UK startup that develops autonomous driving systems.

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Domino’s, Nuro to begin autonomous pizza deliveries in Houston

Nuro Dominos robotic pizza delivery

Starting this week, some Domino’s customers in Houston can have a pizza delivered without ever interacting with a human. The pizza delivery giant said Monday it has partnered with autonomous delivery vehicle startup Nuro to allow select customers to have their pizzas dropped at their door via Nuro’s R2 robot.

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On-demand logistics and fulfillment startup Flowspace raises $31M

Flowspace

On-demand warehousing fulfillment startup Flowspace today announced that it raised $31 million in a series B equity funding round. Los Angeles, California-based Flowspace says that the round, which was led by BuildGroup, will enable it to expand its network of fulfillment centers to build on pandemic-driven growth. The company says that the number of orders shipped on its platform increased 10 times during the past year.

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Machine Learning for advanced batteries

ML Energy Storage

NREL uses machine learning (ML)—the next frontier in innovative battery design—to characterize battery performance, lifetime, and safety. Alongside NREL’s extensive computer-aided engineering, ML can be used to accelerate the understanding of new materials, chemistries, and cell designs.  These complex computer algorithms improve battery lifetime predictive modeling and microstructure diagnostics within NREL’s advanced battery research. NREL provides several open data sets to this information and is collaborating with other institutions to standardize battery data.

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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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