Ford-Owned Autonomic Partners with RideOS for New Self-Driving Tech

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【Summary】Founded by two members of Uber’s Advanced Technology Division, RideOS has raised $9 million in Series A funding and wants to develop software that tells autonomous cars where to go.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 19, 2018 8:15 AM PT
Ford-Owned Autonomic Partners with RideOS for New Self-Driving Tech

Autonomous vehicles are opening up a lot of room for new tech companies to introduce all sorts of specialized technology. The majority of new companies entering the automotive scene are focused on making hardware and software for self-driving cars. Companies like Luminar, specialize in one item and market that system to automakers, which are more than happy to partner with specialized brands to save money. 

A new specialized company has emerged, but it's not working on ways to help cars drive themselves. Instead, it's all about developing a way to tell your self-driving car where to go. 

Giving Autonomous Cars A Helping Hand

RideOS, a startup founded by two former employees from Uber Advanced Technology's Division, has stated that it raised a total of $9 million in Series A funding, which was led by Sequoia Capital. The company also announced that it entered into a partnership with Ford's Autonomic arm to work on tech for driverless vehicles. 

Specifically, RideOS, which is based in San Francisco, is centered on providing other companies with routing for autonomous vehicles and fleet management dashboards. "We're building the next generation air traffic control system for ground transport to help ride-hailing companies, OEMs, mobility startups, and governments bring fleets of self-driving vehicles to the world safely," said Justin Ho, CEO and co-founder of RideOS. 

As Bloomberg reports, RideOS is developing software that lends a helping hand to autonomous vehicles that have a physical hurdle standing in their way. The outlet explains the company's tech in a straightforward way. If an autonomous vehicle detects an issue, like construction for instance, RideOS' software could warn other machines in the fleet. In other circumstances, the system could call for a specific vehicle. 

"It's kind of like an air traffic control center for all of these different vehicles," Ho told Bloomberg. "That entire [operating system] hasn't been built. It's just green field." 

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The Bigger Picture With RideOS AND Ford 

Ho's well qualified to build software that tells driverless cars where to go. As the outlet points out, he was in charge of corporate development for Uber's mapping and autonomous driving division. While working for Uber, Ho met Chris Blumenberg, one of Apple's previous employees. Blumenberg is now working alongside Ho at RideOS as his co-founder. 

RideOS found its first partner with Autonomic, which at the moment develops back-end software that connects automobiles to devices. As Bloomberg points out, Autonomic's software currently allows an owner to unlock a car via a mobile app. 

Together, RideOS and Autonomic are looking to develop one piece of software. "We did look at several other companies, very established ones," said Gavin Sherry, Autonomic's chief executive officer. Neither company provided a timeline for when that product would come out, though. 

RideOS has plans to work with other automakers and companies, including ride-hailing services. Obviously, for a company that has set its sights on managing fleets, having more vehicles using its service is better. The new partnership also gives Ford a more competitive edge on other traditional brands like General Motors and companies like Waymo, which are leaders in the automotive rush towards autonomy.  

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