Summary List Placement
The autonomous-vehicle industry has undergone a wave of consolidation in recent years that spurred a partnership between Hyundai and Aptiv, an investment from Volkswagen into Argo AI, and Amazon’s agreement to purchase Zoox, among other deals.
That trend isn’t likely to stop anytime soon, and, according to Sam Abuelsamid, a research analyst at Guidehouse Insights whose areas of focus include automated driving, Aurora Innovation and Uber ATG are the firms most likely to be bought next.
Aurora was founded in 2016 by former members of Google, Tesla, and Uber’s autonomous-vehicle programs. The startup is developing software and hardware that will allow vehicles to drive without human assistance, with a near-term focus on heavy-duty trucks.
Abuelsamid said cited two main things that make Aurora a compelling acquisition target: the strength of its leadership team and the promise of the lidar technology the company acquired when it bought the startup Blackmore in 2019. Lidar sensors emit pulses of light to determine a vehicle’s surroundings, making them an important factor in autonomous technology.
Amazon, which invested in Aurora last year, is the most likely buyer, he added. Abuelsamid described a scenario in which Amazon could use Zoox’s technology for local deliveries and Aurora’s for long-haul trucking.
“If you look at Amazon’s business over the last half-dozen years, they have shifted a lot more of their logistics business in-house,” he said.
Aurora did not comment on the possibility of a sale to Amazon, but a representative for the company said: “We agree that our leadership and industry-defining lidar are great examples of Aurora’s strengths, and set us up well to build this company for the long term.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.
Uber, which has been working on an automated-driving system since 2015 though its Advanced Technologies Group arm, doesn’t appear close to deploying the tech in its ride-hailing service, Abuelsamid said, and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi may lose his desire to invest in ATG as he seeks to make Uber profitable. Abuelsamid added that a sale might be ATG’s only hope for survival, with Toyota — already an ATG investor — as a potential candidate to take the group under its wing.
“If there isn’t a buyer, I would not be surprised if Uber just pulls the plug on the whole program within the next 12 months,” he said.
Toyota declined a request for comment. Uber did not respond to a request for comment.
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Source:: Business Insider