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Toyota's Woven Planet Group Acquires Silicon Valley-based Automotive Software Developer Renovo

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【Summary】​Toyota Motor Corp subsidiary Woven Planet Holdings, Inc., which is an expansion of the operations of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), announced the acquisition of Renovo Motors, Inc. (“Renovo”), a Silicon Valley-based vehicle software developer. Renovo will help advance Woven Planet’s mission to create software-programmable vehicles for Toyota.

FutureCar Staff    Sep 28, 2021 1:15 PM PT
Toyota's Woven Planet Group Acquires Silicon Valley-based Automotive Software Developer Renovo

Toyota Motor Corp subsidiary Woven Planet Holdings, Inc., which is an expansion of the operations of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI) tasked with developing autonomous driving technology, robotics, smart city tech and other advanced mobility for the automaker, announced the acquisition of Renovo Motors, Inc. ("Renovo"), a Silicon Valley-based developer of an agnostic, vehicle operating system (OS).

Renovo was co-founded by Chris Heiser and Jason Stinson in 2010 in a Palo Alto, CA garage. The company develops specialized vehicle software, which will help advance Woven Planet's mission to enable the most programmable software-based vehicles with its own open software platform called "Arene." Arene allows developers to more easily build, test and deploy their software in production vehicles. 

The acquisition of Renovo will add depth to Woven Planet's existing resources, particularly for Arene. Renovo's team of engineers have deep expertise in building a complete software-defined vehicle infrastructure stack.

"We are in awe with what the Woven Planet team has been building – and are thrilled to join them in creating holistic mobility solutions that will truly benefit humankind," said Heiser, who serves as CEO of Renovo. "We are united around a singular goal to connect the most ubiquitous software and automotive technology in the industry." 

Renovo developed its vehicle OS for autonomous mobility. The company says its AWare OS platform is the critical layer needed to bring autonomous vehicles to market at scale, which is what Toyota is aiming to do.  

AWare was launched in 2016 and is designed as a development and commercialization platform for modern vehicles, allowing third party developers to build applications to run on it, the same way developers build smartphone apps for Apple and Android devices.

Renovo's agnostic Aware OS includes a unique "data fusion layer", to ensure a reliable flow of data from the vehicle's software and sensors to help train algorithms and optimize vehicle operations. 

Renovo created the first commercially available "Complete Loop" data-management platform that enables automakers to continuously learn from their vehicles. Renovo's unique approach allows automakers to build vehicles that support OTA updates, and become smarter, safer and more reliable over time.

Today's vehicles contain millions of lines of code. However, almost all of this code is written by OEMs and their suppliers, which are often the only ones that can decipher it. With today's complex vehicle architectures it presents a problem, according to Woven Planet. 

Renovo's OS is designed to handles" low-level" or the infrastructure layer of safety and security systems on an autonomous vehicle, according to the company. It allows developers to focus on the upper layer, which contains the lines of code to operate and interact with the vehicle to add new functions and features.

Woven Planet believes that not having a universal vehicle software layer can hinder innovation in the industry by creating a barrier for programmers developing new technology solutions for vehicles, including autonomous driving technology. 

According to Woven Planet, Renovo complements its strategy to bring together world-class talent and software expertise in autonomous driving technology, including next-generation mapping and vehicle operating systems.

With the acquisition of Renovo, Toyota's Woven Planet aims to develop a software-based vehicle platform, or OS, that works across multiple OEM platforms, with the goal of establishing a hardware-agnostic vehicle operating system.

"The acquisition of Renovo supports Woven Planet's work in transforming worldwide mobility," said Nikos Michalakis, Senior Vice President of Software Platform, Woven Planet Holdings. "A key part in delivering our ‘Mobility to Love, Safety to Live' vision is to enable the most programmable vehicles on the planet – opening vehicle programming to everyone by simplifying vehicle software development and increasing deployment frequency without compromising safety and security." 

The acquisition of Renovo by Woven Planet represents the latest partnership between a tech company and an automaker to help jumpstart the development of advanced technologies and bring them to the market faster. This includes software-defined vehicles and autonomous driving technology.

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