46 Corporations Working On Autonomous Vehicles
Beyond trendy names like Tesla and Alphabet chasing self-driving cars, a host of auto brands and other tech heavyweights are also investing in autonomous R&D.
Private companies working in auto tech are attracting record levels of deals and funding, with autonomous driving startups leading the charge.
Along with early-stage startups, VCs, and other investors, large corporations are also angling to get a slice of the self-driving pie.
Using CB Insights’ investment, acquisition, and partnership data, we identified 46 companies developing road-going self-driving vehicles. They are a diverse group of players, ranging from automotive industry stalwarts to leading technology brands and telecommunications companies.
This list is organized alphabetically and focuses on larger corporate players in the space (as opposed to earlier-stage startups). Companies working on industrial autonomous vehicles were not included in this analysis.
A few of the companies or brands listed below belong to the same parent organization, but are detailed separately if they are operating distinct autonomous development programs. Some companies are grouped together by key partnerships or alliances. Given the complex web of relationships between these players, other collaborations are also noted in each profile.
This list is not intended to be exhaustive of corporations working on autonomous vehicle technology.
This brief was originally published on 9/25/2015 and featured 25 select corporations. It was updated and expanded on 5/17/2017 and again on 9/4/2018.
Amazon experimenting with autonomous package delivery
- Filed patent in 2016 for autonomous lane-switching technology
- Working on a multi-function autonomous vehicle with Toyota
- “e-Palette” will debut at the 2020 summer Olympic games
Over the last decade, Amazon has spent billions of dollars working on finding ever-better solutions to the last-mile problem in delivery. It’s built its own fleet of cargo jets, explored delivery by drone in the form of “Prime Air,” and more. At CES 2018, the company finally announced that it would be getting involved in autonomous vehicles through a partnership with Toyota.
The demo vehicle, known as the e-Palette, was designed as a multi-function, autonomous minivan to move goods, people, or even a mobile office. Tim Collins, VP of Global Logistics at Amazon, said the partnership would allow the companies to “collaborate and explore new opportunities to improve the speed and quality of delivery for our customers.”
The plan is to debut the e-Palette at the 2020 summer Olympic games in Tokyo.
For Amazon, the partnership is years in the making.
In 2015, Amazon explored a trial with DHL and Audi that involved delivering customers’ parcels to the trunks of their automobiles.
In 2016, Amazon filed for and was granted a patent for a system that helps autonomous cars navigate roadways, especially complex, reversible lanes, and even pick which lane to use depending on current traffic estimates — an early indicator of the company’s ambitions in this space and AVs’ importance to Amazon when it comes to lowering delivery costs.
In April 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon had built a team more than a year prior devoted to focusing on driverless vehicle technology.
We’ve written more on Amazon’s self-driving vehicle patent activity here.
Apple starting to catch up
- Building employee transportation network; currently have 66 self-driving minivans on the road in California
- Some setbacks for Apple’s self-driving car program, Project Titan, in 2016
- Hired former Waymo and NASA engineer in June 2018 to head Project Titan
Apple’s “Project Titan” has been a perennial favorite within the automotive rumor mill. Initial reports suggested the project was targeting an advanced electric vehicle — but the initiative suffered setbacks in early 2016, with the departure of project head Steve Zadesky and a rumored hiring freeze, as well as strategic uncertainty about the vision of the project.
In July 2016, Apple selected its legendary hardware executive Bob Mansfield to lead its effort, in addition to hiring Dan Dodge, the founder and former CEO of QNX. The hires indicated a shift in strategy, with Project Titan reportedly deciding to prioritize the development of an autonomous driving system, while deprioritizing development of an electric vehicle.
In April 2017, new detailed seemed to confirm this pivot: Apple documents revealed the company was building an “automated system,” and the company hired robotics experts from NASA to boost its driverless efforts.
Apple has spent 2018 building out the beginnings of its self-driving car fleet, with 66 vehicles officially on the road and registered with the California DMV as of July 18th. This would make Apple the owner of the third-largest autonomous test vehicle fleet in the state, behind GM Cruise and Waymo.
In May, it was reported that Apple was working to provide autonomous cars for employee transit between corporate facilities. The Volkswagen T6 transporter vans slated to be used will feature a human driver present in case of any issues with the self-driving technology in the car.