Delphi Reaches Agreement to Acquire nuTonomy

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Delphi Chief Technology Officer Glen DeVos says nuTonomy brings advanced software and fleet management experience to the table.

United Kingdom -based Delphi aims to have commercial vehicles using its autonomous system in limited, geo-fenced areas by 2019. Delphi hoped to expand the fleet in 2020 or 2021.

Delphi, the autoparts company, is buying self-driving auto company NuTonomy for $400 million (plus $50 million in earn outs), the companies revealed on Tuesday.

Under the deal, Delphi's autonomous driving team will almost double in size to about 200 people, including highly sought after engineers and scientists.

Founded in 2013 by Dr. Karl Iagnemma and Dr. Emilio Frazzoli and recently named a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer, nuTonomy is developing a proprietary full-stack AD software solution for the global AMoD market. The company also owns Ottomatika, a similar self-driving startup that spun off from Carnegie Mellon University before its acquisition in 2015.

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With completion of the deal, Delphi will have autonomous driving operations in Boston, Pittsburgh, Santa Monica, Silicon Valley and Singapore.

Asked if there will be job cuts here as a result of the acquisition, the nuTonomy spokesperson said he "anticipates the company will continue to grow, creating more demand for robotics and artificial intelligence experts and software engineers". But this is a big deal, in part because nuTonomy is one of the larger and better-funded self-driving start-ups, and in part because of Delphi's existing network of projects and partnerships related to autonomous-vehicle technology. Those vehicles, DeVos said, will be heavily automated and used in pre-mapped areas in cities. The fact that nuTonomy's platform can be readily adapted to different auto types is a big plus for Delphi, which presumably hopes to sell the system to multiple automakers with varying technical requirements.

Delphi's contributions to both efforts were centered partly on its software expertise (acquired from Ottomatika) and partly on its extensive background in integrating systems into automakers' vehicles for mass production.

Earlier this year, Delphi announced that it will spin off its "legacy" powertrain business, which supplies parts and technologies for internal-combustion engines to automakers, to focus its future efforts on electric vehicles and autonomous-driving systems. "This is really the tip of the spear for the automated driving space".

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