Delphi Automotive buys self-driving startup nuTonomy
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Delphi Automotive buys self-driving startup nuTonomy

Automotive giant Delphi has pushed forward in the race to conquer the self-driving market. This time, the auto parts-maker has purchased startup nuTonomy, which is a pure-play software company. Delphi already has a large hand in the self-driving game, as its made other acquisitions and restructures to its existing business that leave no doubt about the company’s intentions: it thinks autonomous driving is going to be big, and it wants to be at the trend’s forefront.

Delphi’s share price has appreciated by 46% year to date


SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

One immediate outcome of the deal is that Delphi’s autonomous driving team will almost double to 200 people, many of which will be highly sought-after scientists and engineers. Given that nuTonomy is Boston-based, and will remain so, Delphi is also spreading out across the country. It now has self-driving operations in Boston, Pittsburgh, Singapore, Santa Monica and Silicon Valley. According to a statement of Tuesday, Delphi will also have 60 self-driving cars on the road across three continents by year-end “with the goal to further accelerate global fleet expansion and technology development.”

Delphi, of course, already has its own self-driving software. But the company’s chief technology officer Glen De Vos thinks that stacking the two against one another will let the company more quickly develop a system that “meets the auto industry’s safety and driving performance requirement.”

Certainly, nuTonomy is a competitive player in the space. Despite being only four years old, the company has worked with big names like Peugeot and Lyft. While nuTonomy might not be a household name – like, for example, Google and others in the self-driving space – this is largely down to relative youth and pocket not nearly so deep. Its two founders, Karl Iagnemma and Emilio Frazzoli, are well known in academic circles as people who were working on self-driving tech when the auto-industry thought it was a science fiction pipe dream. Now they’ve got a major industry player behind them, can they deliver the goods?


Dominion holds Delphi Automotive in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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