We all heard that Google is pushing the boundaries for self driving cars. Originating from a startup, the field is increasing in heat.
Google is dominating the driverless car discussion, but they are not the original inventors. Google is investing, but the idea was born in a small team who call themselves 510 systems. Google quietly bought the Berkeley based startup 510 Systems in 2011, and they produced some of the leading Google products: Street View Cameras and the Driverless Car.
Google interest and marketing attention is driving the driverless car excitement, but could we be missing more fantastic ideas by only focusing on what Google gives the stamp of approval to? Researchers in universities and entrepreneurs are constantly playing with raw data and thinking of new ideas. Is 510 Systems just one of the many?
New self driving car technology could really improve health and safety in traffic (we already published a piece here about how digital health and the topic links together). But who is leading among startups? We put together a watch-list for the hottest companies to watch, and which we expect to write driving history in 2015.
1. Hottest Startup 2015: Cruise
Cruise is a highway autopilot that controls your steering, throttle, and braking, making sure your car remains safely in its lane and a safe distance from the car in front of you. A $10k accessory that you can strap to the roof of your car and plug into your footwell. Cheaper than the Google driverless car but only available for a specific Audi model.
2. Hottest Startup 2015: Uber
Uber is looking to enter the driverless car race by opening the Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh. Now just an idea, but shows the way Uber is looking to innovate the transportation industry.
3. Hottest Startup 2015: Mobileye
Israel based startup Mobileye excites investors and car manufacturer. One of the main goals: making driving in traffic saver. The technology promises much beyond the self driving option only, and declares that their automotive technology can reduce accidents at scale.
The startup will also function as an enabler for the self driving car revolution. On Tesla's forum, comments mention that Mobileye already supplies the speed sign readout for Tesla and the auto dimming headlights, and there are suspicions that the rest of Tesla's suite for the Model S is provided in collaboration with the startup.
4. Hottest Startup 2015: Valeo
Valeo is interesting because it has a market-leading laser scan technology which can turn out to provide the crucial elements for self driving cars technology.
Mobileye and Valeo just signed and announced the cooperation. The plan is to develop an innovative joint venture product proposition for the automated driving market, which will include a combination of vision and laser scanning technology.
5. Hottest Startup 2015: Delphi
Admittingly, less of a startup, but still one that changes the game for self driving car technology is Michigan based Delphi.
The company has just completed a test run, with a self driving car they call Roadrunner. Stuffed with Delphi’s vision, radar and laser tech, a team of engineers have managed to complete an autonomous car trip of 3,400 mile across the US (from San Francisco to New York City).