A self-driving delivery vehicle is parked with gull wing doors open to reveal paper bags filled with groceries.

More money for self-driving R&D

Investment surged into AVs in 2018 and 2018—tens of billions of dollars a month. By 2020, that had dried up. But "[a]fter a year or more spent in the 'trough of disillusionment'", autonomous vehicles are again attractring big funding. In one month in the autumn of 2020, delivery AV startup Nuro raised $500 million and China's Pony.ai raised $400 million." Lidar maker Luminar was pursuing a merger to raise $400 million at a $3.4 billion valuation.

As the post-pandemic commuting and retailing outlook stabilizes on a new normal, investors are likely to open their wallets again and pile into a host of more focused startups who will bring a more mature set of technologies the final stretch to market. The dollar amounts are so big, and AV technology such a fundamental platform—like mobiles before them—that they could unleash a widespread wave of innovations.

Source: medium.com
Delivery + Logistics
automated vehicles
last mile
venture capital