Autonomous Mobility

Biggest Mergers & Acquisitions in the AV Industry During Pandemic

By Pradnya Nanir - Sep 07 2020
Unlike the year 2019, this year has recorded a dramatic slowdown in the strategic mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the AV industry. The global automotive industry was already under the recession wave since mid-2018 and have witnessed a decline in the vehicle sales of major economies. The COVID-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation which is expected to take quite a significant time for recovery. 

Only 7 major acquisitions were recorded in the first half of 2020 and the additional 3 transactions took place in the month of July.  Amazon and Intel are the two giants that participated in the high value acquisitions, while the other acquirer includes the AV tech companies, LiDAR players, software, and simulation companies.

The $1.2 billion acquisition of the California based robotaxi player Zoox, Inc. by Inc. announced in the month of June, touted all over the industry as Amazon’s great move towards accelerating its entry in robotaxis and shared mobility industry. However, post the announcement, the top engineers from Zoox were poached by AV tech companies such as Cruise and Waymo causing a great impact to the Amazon’s plans. If this loss of expertise is further continued, it could possibly force the company to walk away from its planned acquisition. 

Moovit is the second Israeli mobility company acquired by Intel Corporation, after Mobileye. This strategic move is considered as the most crucial step of Intel towards becoming a full stack mobility provider. This $900 million acquisition was one of the great deals for Intel, as it will certainly accelerate the company’s timeline to launch a complete autonomous mobility solution. GM’s Cruise is aiming to deliver the improved and advanced autonomous driving solution at scale by less relying on the third party for sensors and technology. 

To move ahead with this goal, the company has acquired a German high-resolution radar manufacturer Astyx GmbH in June 2020 for an undisclosed amount.  On 5th March, the German based data annotation company (having ~750 employees) CMore Automotive was acquired by a software engineering firm Luxoft. TTTech Auto, the Austrian provider of safety software platforms for AVs has acquired Turkish software company Red Pine Software in January. 

Velodyne LiDAR Inc. has announced a merger on 2nd of July with a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company called Graf Industrial Corp. Around $150 million were raised by both the companies in equity from a group of institutional investors. 

On 7th, LeddarTech, the Canada based solid-state LiDAR and perception technology company has acquired an Israeli company Vayavision to develop and deliver an open sensor fusion & perception platform for autonomous vehicles.  A real time software development specialist Intempora was acquired by dSpace in the same month. 

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