Auto tech top deal tracker. Atieva, Faraday, and LeEco. Another sensor startup funded.
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Hi there,

We broke down the latest auto tech startup financing data for 2016 to date, and it's clear that momentum in the auto tech space shows no sign of slowing as we head into Q4.

At the current run rate, private auto tech companies are on track for their first billion-dollar year in collective funding. With two and a half months left in the year, deal activity is already on par with 2015's full-year total.

This year's financing totals have been noticeably lifted by the increasing prevalence of $50M+ and $100M+ rounds; just a handful more would lift 2016 over $1B+ in total funding. We've created a tracker dedicated to following these top auto tech deals.

Wanted: Autonomous engineers

Fortune and Indeed dug into job listings to find the companies recruiting most actively (at least online) for autonomous vehicle development. These skills are obviously in high demand, with Sebastian Thrun's Udacity now offering a nanodegree dedicated to the field.

Topping the list are the usual corporate suspects like GM (which has announced a 700-engineer hiring target), Google, and Ford. Atieva is the sole newcomer rounding out the top 5; the startup's hiring uptick is notable given its checkered past.

Atieva has deep-pocketed Chinese backers but has struggled with former investor BAIC Motor (now divested), the ousting of its co-founder, and uncertainty with backer LeEco (whose billionaire owner has also started Faraday Future, in addition to LeEco's own auto efforts).

We took a look at the company's overall hiring activity via the CB Insights platform. Atieva's open listings have remained quite high after accelerating sharply early in the year. Peeking into current listings does reveal many ADAS and autonomous-related positions.

Incidentally, sketches of Atieva's first sedan and initial manufacturing plans surfaced this week through public records requests (for more, read on below).

Have a great rest of the week, everybody.


P.S. We just published an in-depth teardown of Alphabet's acquisitions, investments, and research. Transportation & logistics is just one of the many sectors analyzed, and I'll be covering the material in a webinar next Tuesday.

Auto tech startups on pace for first billion-dollar year

Investors have funded private auto tech startups to the tune of $874M to date, with deal activity already matching last year's total. See the data.
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This Week in Auto Tech
A curated mix of recent articles on auto tech financings, exits, announcements, hirings, partnerships & perspectives.
Oryx Vision raises $17M. The Israeli sensing startup raised its Series A from Bessemer Venture Partners, Maniv Mobility, and Trucks VC. BVP's Adam Fisher (@adamrfisher) shared more on their investment and the company's tech.
PE Hub / BVP

PSA purchases Aramisauto. The French auto group has acquired an online used-car specialist.
Fleet Europe

Company News & Personnel Moves
Apple cuts back auto. Cupertino has drastically scaled back Project Titan, abandoning development of its own vehicle and focusing on a self-driving platform. (We've discussed headwinds facing the project in previous issues.)

Audi delays tech projects. Parent VW is wrestling with its emissions scandal and the group's need to invest in electrification, digital services, and beyond.

Jia Yueting's auto empire takes shape. LeEco showed off its LeSEE Pro amid a US market blitz, while a public records request surfaced more intel on Atieva. Faraday Future promises to unveil a production vehicle at CES 2017.

The Verge / Recode / Fortune

Who's hiring in autonomous. Fortune and Indeed look at self-driving job postings, while Fast Company profiles GM's effort to lure tech talent to Detroit.
Fortune / Fast Company

Zipline starts Rwanda deliveries. The Sequoia-backed startup has begun delivering blood to Rwandan clinics.

Renault-Nissan creates tech division. The alliance has formed a 300-person "in-house startup" to advance its technology projects.
Automotive News

Tesla's reveal. The EV maker announced that all Tesla vehicles entering production now include an upgraded hardware suite it deems sufficient for full autonomy (which continues to omit LiDAR). Accompanying the release was language restricting ride-hailing and car-sharing service to the Tesla Network.
Tesla / Ars Technica

nuTonomy's crash and the self-driving honeymoon phase. The company's vehicles saw their first collision. Meanwhile, its initial tests seem to indicate a steep acceptance curve among riders.
Reuters / MIT Technology Review

Articles & Perspectives
Autonomous vehicle founder conundrum. Michael Dempsey (@mhdempsey) outlines deployment options available to the wave of startups entering the autonomous space.

Bullying autonomous vehicles. Aggressive drivers might see their automated counterparts as easy prey.
Financial Times

Moving past the trolley problem. Brad Templeton (@bradtem) reasons that the oft-cited moral conundrum may be receiving an undue share of attention.
Brad Ideas

Californian regulations draw flak. Google and traditional automakers both objected to California's new proposals for the testing of self-driving cars.
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