Category Archives: autonomous vehicles

Sense Photonics flashes onto the lidar scene with a new approach and $26M

Lidar is a critical part of many autonomous cars and robotic systems, but the technology is also evolving quickly. A new company called Sense Photonics just emerged from stealth mode today with a $26M A round, touting a whole new approach that allows for an ultra-wide field of view and (literally) flexible installation. Still in prototype phase but clearly enough to attract eight figures of investment, Sense Photonics’ lidar doesn’t look dramatically different from others at first, but the changes are both under the hood and, in […]

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Digging into key takeaways from our 2019 Robotics+AI Sessions Event

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater and Lucas Matney shared their key takeaways from our Robotics+AI Sessions event at UC Berkeley last week. The event was filled with panels, demos and intimate discussions with key robotics and deep learning founders, executives and technologists. Brian and Lucas discuss which companies excited them most, as well as which verticals have the most exciting growth prospects in the robotics […]

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Backer of Musical.ly, Grindr and Opera to invest $50M in self-driving startup Pony.ai

A games publisher in China is following the path of its larger peer Tencent to back a wide spectrum of startups for financial gains. Beijing Kunlun Wanwei, or Kunlun, announced in a filing this week that it plans to inject $50 million into autonomous driving startup Pony.ai in exchange for a 3 percent stake. Pony.ai confirmed the investment with TechCrunch in an email response, adding that the money contributes to its pre-B round of financing. The startup last pocketed $102 million, which valued it at nearly $1 […]

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To automate bigger stores than Amazon, Standard Cognition buys Explorer.ai

Standard Cognition helps retail stores stand up to Jeff Bezos’ juggernaut. The $50 million-funded autonomous checkout startup is racing to equip bigger shops with scanless payment technology that lets customers walk out the door without ever stopping at a cashier. While Amazon Go opens its own 2,000 square foot boutiques, Standard Cognition is working on outfitting 20,000 square foot and larger drug stores and grocers. That led Standard Cognition to make its first acquisition, Explorer.ai. Why would an automated checkout company acquire a self-driving car startup? Because whether […]

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Uber to resume autonomous vehicle testing months after fatal accident

Uber has been granted permission by the state of Pennsylvania to reinstate tests of its autonomous vehicles, as first reported by Reuters. A spokesperson for Uber confirmed to TechCrunch that the ride-hailing giant received a letter of authorization from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and clarified that the company has not yet resumed self-driving operations. Uber halted testing of its self-driving cars following a fatal accident in Tempe, Arizona this March that left a pedestrian dead. An autonomous Uber SUV accompanied by a safety driver was driving northbound […]

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Lidar startup AEye raises $40M Series B led by the Taiwanese government’s investment firm

Lidar technology developer AEye will scale its operations globally through manufacturing partnerships after raising a $40 million Series B. The round was led by Taiwania Capital, the investment firm created and backed by Taiwan’s National Development Council, and includes returning investors Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures and Tychee Partners. This brings the California-based startup’s total funding so far to about $61 million. In a press statement, founder and CEO Luis Dussan said Taiwania’s investment is a strategic one and will give AEye more access to manufacturing, […]

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Self-driving car startup Zoox is raising $500 million at a $3.2 billion valuation

Zoox, a once-secretive self-driving car startup, is closing a $500 million raise at a $3.2 billion post-money valuation, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Prior to the deal, Zoox was valued at $2.7 billion, Zoox confirmed to TechCrunch. The round, led by Mike Cannon-Brookes of Grok Ventures, brings its total amount of funding to $800 million. Zoox’s plan, according to Bloomberg, is to publicly deploy autonomous vehicles by 2020 in the form of its own ride-hailing service. The cars themselves will be all-electric and fully autonomous. Meanwhile, ride-hail companies like […]

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