MIT spin-off nuTonomy secures $3.6M to fund self-driving car technology; delivering more human-like experience
nuTonomy Inc., a developer of advanced software for autonomous vehicles, closed a $3.6M seed funding round, with investments from Signal Ventures, Samsung Ventures, Fontinalis Partners and Dr. Steven LaValle. The funding will help support nuTonomy’s continued work in the US as well as in Singapore, where industry and government are jointly piloting autonomous vehicle technology.
nuTonomy is pioneering a new technique for decision-making based on methods that have been used in the development of spacecraft, airplanes and other complex automated vehicles.
nuTonomy’s software is currently being integrated and tested by automotive partners in both the US and Europe, with the goal of deploying self-driving features within the next few years.
Other approaches to automated driving, which rely on rigid decision-making logic, result in vehicles that frequently drive in an overly cautious, jerky and uncertain manner, nuTonomy said.
By applying advanced techniques from the aerospace industry, we’re creating a self-driving car that is safe, confident and drives in a truly ‘human-like’ manner.—Karl Iagnemma, CEO and co-founder of nuTonomy
nuTonomy’s founders have been researching and creating autonomous vehicle technology since 2005. The MIT-based team behind nuTonomy has robotic technology with funding from NASA and DARPA. The two have already built and tested dozens of autonomous vehicle prototypes over the past decade.
Co-founder and CTO Emilio Frazzoli previously directed the first open-to-the-public pilot of on-demand automated vehicles. The pilot, which took place in Singapore in 2014, enabled more than 500 Singaporean citizens to experience an Uber-like service to request driverless transportation throughout the Jurong Lake Gardens, a central public park. That experience, led by SMART (Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology), enabled the team to prove the demand for autonomous vehicle technology in Singapore.
nuTonomy has built upon this experience to develop technology for city-wide management of autonomous vehicle fleets in urban settings.