Meet The 7 Most Prominent Autonomous Driving Startups In The USA

Mansi Maheshwari Mansi Maheshwari
Apr 14, 2022 8 min read
Meet The 7 Most Prominent Autonomous Driving Startups In The USA

Every week, it seems like a new startup wants to be a leader in the autonomous driving sector. Interestingly, most startups that want to lead this industry don't have an option to buy their technology from companies like Waymo and General Motors. This means that these new startups need to develop the technology themselves. This is why so many startups are entering the autonomous driving market and why the sector is growing so quickly. Quite a few companies are creating autonomous driving technology, and they certainly aren't all going to survive, though. Instead of trying to persuade you about who the best companies are, We've narrowed down our list of the most prominent autonomous driving startups in the US. Here you go!

List of Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

  1. Waymo
  2. Cruise
  3. Zoox
  4. May Mobility
  5. Aurora
  6. Nuro
  7. Lyft

Waymo

Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States

Waymo - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Waymo - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

In the race to develop a self-driving car, it's hard to talk about autonomous driving startups without mentioning Waymo. Waymo is not a car company. It's a self-driving technology company. And it's the most well-funded of all the autonomous vehicle startups out there. The company started life as an independent entity named Google Self-Driving Car Project before becoming a subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. in December 2016.

Waymo is the undisputed leader in autonomous vehicles, with over 3 million miles driven on public roads and another 5 billion miles driven in computer simulations every year. In 2016, the company introduced its first fully driverless car prototype β€” a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan equipped with Waymo's proprietary sensors and software.

The company maintains that its objective is building a self-driving car that can operate safely, reliably, and successfully. As part of this effort, Waymo has made its software and hardware stack open source and is working with partners such as Jaguar to bring new self-driving cars to market.

Waymo Driverless Car

Cruise

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States

Cruise - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Cruise - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

Cruise is one of the most well-known autonomous vehicle startups in the US. The startup has raised nearly $6 billion in funding and is currently valued at almost $20 billion.

The Cruise was founded in 2013 in San Francisco, California, by Daniel Kan and Kyle Vogt. It began as an autonomous vehicle company specializing in self-driving car hardware and software. Still, it evolved into a company that exists to develop autonomous vehicles for mass production and use.

The startup's mission is "to bring safe, clean, and affordable transportation to everyone, everywhere." Cruise has developed a self-driving system that can be applied to multiple vehicle platforms to achieve its mission. It also created a Cruise Anywhere app that allows users to summon self-driving cars from their smartphones. GM acquired Cruise Automation in 2016 for over $1 billion.

In 2018, General Motors invested another $2.25 billion into Cruise Automation to increase its equity stake to 75%. In February 2019, Honda announced it would invest $2.75 billion into the startup and take a 5% stake in Cruise Automation.

Zoox

Headquarters: Foster City, California, United States

Zoox - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Zoox - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

This startup is a pioneer in the autonomous vehicles space. It is developing a self-driving ride-hailing service using its driverless electric vehicle. The vehicle doesn't have a steering wheel or pedals and is designed to carry up to four passengers and travel 75 mph. The company envisions its autonomous driving service as an on-demand mobility solution that provides consumers with safe, low-cost urban transportation around the clock.

Zoox has a different objective from other autonomous driving companies. It's not just making "an SAE Level 4 self-driving car." Instead, it is building a fully autonomous, zero-emissions vehicle designed for ride-hailing that seats four passengers in a way that makes them face each other.

Unlike traditional self-driving cars, Zoox's vehicle is bi-directional. As a result, it can drive forward and backwards in the same direction, enabling it to do more efficient U-turns.

Zoox was founded by Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson in 2014 and has raised $290 million from investors including DFJ, Lux Capital, Greylock Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Blackbird Ventures.


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May Mobility

Headquarters: Michigan, United States

May Mobility - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
May Mobility - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

One of the first movers in autonomous vehicles for public transportation, May Mobility is a startup already operating a fleet of driverless shuttles in downtown Detroit. The company's primary focus is "first- and last-mile" transport β€” connecting people who live or work on the outskirts of a city with public transit hubs like train stations or bus stops.

The company first raised seed capital in 2017 and has since raised an additional $11.55 million β€” including a Series A round led by BMW Ventures in 2018 and a follow-on round led by Toyota AI Ventures and Maven Ventures in 2019.

May Mobility launched its first commercial service this summer, carrying passengers between two parking lots at the University of Michigan's Mcity facility for autonomous vehicle testing. In addition, it partnered with the Detroit Department of Transportation to launch a shuttle service that moves commuters from the city's QLINE rail line to their nearby offices each morning.

Aurora

Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Aurora - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Aurora - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

Aurora is the only company on this list that's not actively pursuing a product. Instead, it's building the tools used to build self-driving cars. Aurora aims to create an open platform for self-driving tech, which it will license to other companies. That means Aurora isn't aiming to compete with any of the companies on this list. Instead, its goal is to help them all succeed in their efforts.

Aurora is on a mission is to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly. Self-driving technology could save hundreds of thousands of lives and remake cities.

Their safe and pragmatic approach is to build self-driving technology that will move people and goods worldwide one day. They bring together an incredible team with diverse backgrounds and experiences with a singular objective – to deliver on the promise of self-driving technology.

Aurora is working with several partners, including VW Group and Hyundai, and ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber. The company's biggest claim to fame came in 2019 when it acquired Uber's ATG division in a deal worth $4 billion.

Aurora has raised more than $1 billion in funding from investors like Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners.

Nuro

Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States

Nuro - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Nuro - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

Nuro is one of the most prominent autonomous driving startups in the US. The startup was founded by two former Google engineers, Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu, in 2016. In June 2018, the company was granted a permit to test self-driving vehicles on California's public roads in June 2018.

Nuro aims to build a self-driving vehicle that can help people with their daily tasks. Unlike most other autonomous driving startups, Nuro doesn't aim to revolutionize personal mobility; instead, it tries to enhance the efficiency of delivery services. The company demonstrated its prototype in 2017, which didn't have a driver's cabin as any human operator would have limited the vehicle's potential.

Nuro's mission is to make local commerce more convenient for everyone through the instant delivery of goods and groceries.

Lyft

Headquarters: San Francisco, California, United States

Lyft - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US
Lyft - Top Autonomous Driving Startups in The US

Lyft is perhaps the most aggressive startup in autonomous driving technology.

The company put down a $300 million investment in the self-driving car startup Drive.ai to put the startup's technology in Lyft cars by 2022. The two companies expect to launch test programs over the next three years as they work to integrate the technology into Lyft's fleet.

Lyft also partnered with Waymo, Alphabet's subsidiary developing self-driving cars, back in 2017 and has been allowing Waymo's autonomous vehicles on its ride-hailing platform since then.

Lyft's objective is to build an open-source autonomous driving system that will allow any car manufacturer to integrate it into their vehicles for free. To achieve this goal, Lyft has been working on gathering the necessary data and building a high-definition map that will help self-driving cars understand the roads they travel on."

The company said it extends the program across more cities and even allows riders to hail vehicles without a safety driver.


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Conclusion

Autonomous driving tech will be advancing rapidly over the next few years. These companies are among the leaders in this field.

There are a lot of companies poised to do something big in the world of autonomous driving. As with any major technological trend, it's important to keep a close eye on the companies in this space. As they grow, they could emerge as some of the most powerful players in the massive field of autonomous driving. The next decade will likely see many of them launch exciting new products and services and maybe even be acquired by some big tech giants. Don't be surprised if Apple or Google snaps up one or more of these companies, although there's no reason to believe that they won't continue growing on their own just as well. In any case, it's important to keep your eye on these startups to see how they're faring in years to come.

FAQs

Which are the top autonomous driving startups in the US?

Most prominent autonomous driving startups in the US are:

  • Cruise
  • Zoox
  • May Mobility
  • Aurora
  • Nuro
  • Waymo
  • Lyft

Which company is leading autonomous driving?

Top companies that develop AI for self-driving cars are:

  • Cruise
  • Waymo
  • Agro.ai.

Is self-driving market growing?

According to researched data, the self-driving market is projected to grow from $54.23 billion to approximately $555.67 billion in 7 years.

What company makes chips for self-driving vehicles?

Companies that make chips for self-driving vehicles are:

  • Qualcomm
  • Tower Semiconductor (TSEM)
  • Microchip Technology Incorporated (MCHP)

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