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Hi there,

Intel's planned acquisition of Mobileye has raised the bar for the largest auto tech deal to date (Mobileye's 2014 IPO also owns the title of biggest VC-backed exit in the space).

Auto tech startups working in computer sensing and vision are already red-hot, with companies developing lower-cost and/or higher-fidelity tech seeing deals every month. LiDAR demand has skyrocketed, with self-driving developers reportedly facing six-month waits for new devices (see the blurb below).



Tech companies across the spectrum are looking to muscle their way into supplying vehicles of the future, from connected car to autonomous driving hardware and software. Samsung just completed its own acquisition of Harman this week, while Qualcomm and NXP's tie-up is also pending.

The Mobileye deal follows Intel's formation of its Autonomous Driving Group and $250M commitment to auto tech startups through Intel Capital. The companies were linked by previous alliances (one with BMW and another with Delphi); it was from these partnerships that discussions around the acquisition began.

Having largely missed the boat on mobile, Intel is aggressively seeking future growth channels, making deals to bulk up in mapping, VR, AI, and more.



The next big screen

This week augmented reality navigation startup WayRay saw a $18M investment from Alibaba and SAIC Motor. A Ford patent application we surfaced today also described a conceptually similar windscreen-based navigation and media entertainment system.



Besides the automakers and tech companies looking to supply this tech, the convergence of autonomous driving and augmented- and mixed-reality technology will also open new doors for advertisers and media providers.

Have a great rest of the week.


Kerry
@kerrygwu

Auto tech & logistics patent watch

We use CB Insights' patent search engine to analyze recently-granted patents from IBM, Ford, Uber, and GoogleCheck out the patents.
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4 startups developing sensing and vision solutions for autonomous vehicles

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A look into Google/Waymo’s LiDAR patents

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This Week in Auto Tech
A curated mix of recent articles on auto tech financings, exits, announcements, hirings, partnerships & perspectives.
Deals
Intel acquires Mobileye. The deal carries a $15.3B price tag; Ben Thompson of Stratechery analyzes the deal using the smiling curve framework.

NYT Dealbook / Stratechery

Valeo acquires Gestigon. The auto supplier has purchased a German cabin-interior image processing startup.
Valeo

EV startup acquisition. French utility ENGIE has acquired EV-Box, a Dutch EV charge point startup.
euPulse

Ford continues auto tech push. The company has invested in the stealthy Autonomic. Our Cruncher caught a SEC filing for the company back in January (Chamath Palihapitiya of Social Capital also obliquely referenced Ford's right-to-buy for the startup at the CBI Innovation Summit).
Axios / SEC

Alibaba leads WayRay funding. The Chinese giant was joined by SAIC Motor in an $18M round to the Swiss AR navigation startup.
VentureBeat

Baidu and Tencent back NIO/NextEV. After rumors circulated last week, Chinese sources are reporting that the EV maker has raised a $600M round.
AllChinaTech

News
Comma.ai's new plan. George Hotz's startup has announced the Panda, an ODB2 connected device that will aggregate driving data from users across the world.

Ars Technica

Baidu plans to spin off autonomous unit. CEO Robin Li says the company will spin off its self-driving division once it reaches maturity.
Bloomberg

New EVs taking shape. Lucid's Air will have a starting price of $60k (before incentives); NIO has unveiled an autonomy-focused concept.
The Drive (Lucid) / Electrek (NIO)

LiDAR in short supply. Wait times for the coveted sensor units have stretched to more than six months; Velodyne's profits are expected to triple this year from the frenzied demand.
The Information (paywall)

Nvidia's partnerships. The chipmaker has announced a partnership with Bosch to deploy its self-driving processors; it will also collaborate with truckmaker Paccar to develop self-driving trucks.
Ars Technica (Bosch) / Reuters (Paccar)


Ford will geofence autonomous cars. The automaker's head self-driving engineer says its early vehicles will only operate inside pre-mapped regions.
Inverse

Google CEO highlights battery tech. Eric Schmidt has highlighted the solid-state batteries developed by John Goodenough, creator of the lithium-ion battery.
Bloomberg

Driverless and EV regs. California pushes towards public self-driving tests without human drivers; meanwhile, EV tax credits face turmoil in the US.
VentureBeat (Cali DMV) / NYT (EV policies)


Articles & Perspectives
Uber's future. Daniel Compton speculates on whether Otto's alleged theft of Waymo IP may have been premeditated with Uber; Bloomberg profiles Anthony Levandowski.

Daniel Compton / Bloomberg

Backtracing deep learning decisions. Rob Toews of SHFFT outlines the advantages of deep learning for AV decision-making, but also the lack of interpretability when something goes wrong.
Forbes

Investing in Starsky. Reilly Brennan of Trucks VC outlines the case for investing in the self-driving truck startup.
Medium
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