Autonomous automobile generation startup Drive.ai has raised $15 million in a new spherical from Grab, Southeast Asia’s biggest Uber rival. The added funding will assist Drive.ai enlarge across the world, and it plans to open a Singapore office within the coming months so as to supply a base of operations for taking into account a deployment of its self-driving automobiles within the nation.
This isn’t but a proper partnership between Grab and Drive.ai, although Grab has up to now partnered with Boston’s NuTonomy to put self-driving automobiles at the street in Singapore. Instead, it’s an funding that can even contain Grab helping Drive.ai with its analysis of the native marketplace for deployment of its tech, together with facilitating partnerships between govt and different native companies.
In an interview, Drive.ai CEO Sameep Tandon known as the trouble to increase usable self-driving tech “a global space race,” and mentioned that world growth is necessary to the corporate in consequence. The Singapore alternative additionally happened thank you a fortunate aggregate of things, together with assembly with the Grab crew at house in California, and likewise a talk over with to Singapore by way of Drive.ai co-founder and president Carol Reiley.
“[Carol] visited Singapore last year around Christmas time, and met with Grab’s AV team around then,” Tandon defined. “Coincidentally we had several of Grab’s folks come out here, they were in the area so we gave them an AV ride. They became really excited about the long-term possibilities with us as well as how deep learning could make the self-driving car brain better. Once Anthony [Tan], Grab’s CEO came over it was pretty much a done deal at that point.”
As to why Singapore proved the precise alternative for Drive.ai’s first world office and growth goal, Tandon defined aggregate of things make it a place that’s ultimate for their very own targets and construction plans.
“We look at Singapore as a country, it’s been a technological juggernaut,” Tandon mentioned. “When innovations happen in the region, basically they start in Singapore and then move out to other places within the region, whether it’s Indonesia, Vietnam or China. What’s also really interesting to us about Singapore is they have this sort of existential problem here – for them autonomous driving is not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when.’ They have this high population density in a very small physical area, and the extra challenges that go along with that.”
This has led to a central authority and transportation businesses which are very supportive of self-driving generation corporations, and attempting to to find leading edge answers to those issues. They’re already running with quite a lot of those businesses to flesh out what their presence within the nation will seem like.
Drive.ai is contemporary off a partnership with Lyft, and previous this yr it published extra about how its method isn’t the same as others running on self-driving – thank you to a selected center of attention on making a retrofit equipment that may be put in in current fleets to give them self sufficient features. This must assist it succeed in extra of an international presence, and Tandon says they’ll proceed to regulate international sizzling spots when it comes to self sufficient generation alternatives.