|Robosense in $1b IPO drive
|Zeekr officially launches Zeekr 007 sedan to target mainstream EV market
|Helm.ai Announces DNN Foundation Models for Intent Prediction and Path Planning
|General Motors file lawsuit to recoup $108M in taxes from City of San Francisco
1. Robosense in $1b IPO drive
Chinese self-driving car sensor maker, RoboSense Technology, aims to raise nearly HK$1 billion in its Hong Kong IPO, potentially marking the first new listing of the year.
The Shenzhen-based company offers 22.91 million shares at HK$43 each, with a minimum investment of HK$4,343.4 per board lot.
State-owned enterprise Nanshan SEI Investment serves as a cornerstone investor, subscribing to HK$780 million worth of shares.
RoboSense, founded in 2014, specializes in lidar technology for autonomous driving and robotics, utilizing pulsed laser beams to measure distances similar to radar and sonar.
The company’s lidar products are projected to capture 29% of the global passenger vehicle lidar market by sales in the current year, according to Yole Intelligence.
Major shareholders include Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao, holding an 11% stake, and other investors like China Mobile, Fosun International, Geely Automobile, Xiaomi, and China Structural Reform Fund Corp.
RoboSense plans to allocate IPO proceeds, with 45% for research and development, 20% each for enhancing capabilities, sales, and marketing efforts, and the remaining for partnerships and working capital.
The IPO reflects the growing importance of lidar in autonomous technologies, and the involvement of diverse investors signifies industry interest in RoboSense’s advancements.
The involvement of a state-owned enterprise as a cornerstone investor indicates confidence in RoboSense’s potential, and diverse major investors, including Alibaba’s Cainiao, reflect industry interest in its technology.
2. Zeekr officially launches Zeekr 007 sedan to target mainstream EV market
- Zeekr, Geely’s premium EV subsidiary, launched the Zeekr 007 targeting the mainstream EV market, marking a departure from niche market-focused models.
- With a reduced starting price of RMB 209,900 and over 51,000 pre-orders, deliveries are set to begin on January 1, 2024.
- The mid-sized sedan, based on Geely’s SEA, offers five price variants covering the RMB 200,000 to RMB 300,000 range.
- Two single-motor models lack LiDAR, while others, termed “Smart Driving Editions,” include this advanced driver-assistance technology.
- Performance features include varying power and torque for single and dual-motor versions, with acceleration times ranging from 5.6 to 2.84 seconds.
- Battery options include Golden Battery (75 kWh) and Qilin Battery (100 kWh), providing a range of 616 km to 870 km.
- Notable technological features include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip for the smart cockpit and Nvidia’s Drive Orin chip for the smart driving system, with LiDAR-equipped models featuring two Orin chips.
- Zeekr introduces its own assisted driving system with the Zeekr 007, deviating from Mobileye’s solution used in other models.
- Future plans involve developing intelligent driving systems based on both in-house and Mobileye solutions.
- Zeekr Pilot, part of the Zeekr AD driver-assistance system, will be used in major Chinese cities upon delivery.
The inclusion of LiDAR in certain models of Zeekr 007 reflects a commitment to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Plans to continue development with both Mobileye and in-house solutions signal flexibility and a commitment to advancing intelligent driving systems.
3. Self-Driving Cars On UK Roads By 2026, Says Transport Secretary
- UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper predicts self-driving cars on public roads by 2026, with the government planning new legislation for autonomous driving.
- The proposed legislation shifts legal liability for crashes to manufacturers rather than owners of self-driving cars.
- Past government initiatives include funding trials for synchronized HGV lorries and allowing self-driving cars on motorways.
- Trials of autonomous technology, including driverless pods and delivery robots, have been ongoing in Milton Keynes.
- The government emphasizes a gradual rollout, with legislation expected to pass by the end of 2024, focusing on safety benefits and potential uses to improve road safety.
The shift of legal liability to manufacturers aligns with global trends in regulating the responsibility for autonomous vehicle accidents. Harper’s emphasis on safety benefits suggests a proactive approach to addressing public concerns and ensuring a smooth adoption of self-driving capabilities.
4. Helm.ai Announces DNN Foundation Models for Intent Prediction and Path Planning
- Helm.ai introduces DNN-based foundation models for behavioral prediction and decision-making in high-end ADAS L2/L3 and L4 autonomous driving.
- Trained models predict behavior and forecast paths in complex urban scenarios, utilizing a surround-view system and 3D detection.
- Helm.ai employs Deep Teaching technology for scalable, unsupervised learning directly from real driving data, avoiding reliance on simulators.
- The AI-first approach, applicable to ADAS and L4 deployments, generalizes to robotics beyond self-driving vehicles.
- Helm.ai’s software platform, hardware-agnostic and vision-first, targets critical perception problems, accelerating AI-based intent prediction and path planning.
- The $55 million Series C funding round in August 2023, led by Freeman Group, brings Helm.ai’s total funding to $102 million, indicating strong investor confidence in the company’s advancements in autonomous driving technology.
The use of real driving data and scalable Deep Teaching technology positions Helm.ai to adapt to diverse and complex urban scenarios. The company’s scalable AI approach, spanning from ADAS to large-scale L4 deployments, demonstrates a commitment to versatile and comprehensive autonomous solutions.
5. General Motors file lawsuit to recoup $108M in taxes from City of San Francisco
- General Motors (GM) filed a lawsuit against the City of San Francisco.
- GM argues that the city overcharged it $108 million in taxes and $13 million in interest, specifically linking it to its self-driving car division, Cruise.
- Cruise, acquired by GM in 2016, operates separately with different revenue models, and GM claims it has operated “at arm’s length” since the purchase.
- GM asserts that Cruise’s technology and autonomous vehicle rideshare with goods delivery business are fundamentally different from GM’s core business.
- Cruise’s headquarters are in San Francisco, but GM, with its Detroit headquarters, claims to have little presence in San Francisco with no employees, plants, or dealerships.
- GM alleges that San Francisco erroneously used Cruise’s San Francisco footprint to tax GM’s global revenue instead of locally generated revenue.
- GM had been regularly paying the tax bill but did not explain in court documents why it waited until now to dispute the charges with Cruise.
- Cruise has faced challenges, with nine executives leaving amid an investigation into an October incident where a woman was hit by a human driver and thrown into the path of a Cruise robotaxi.
- In November, Cruise recalled all 950 of its self-driving systems and issued a software update related to the October incident.
- Cruise’s operations were temporarily halted after California suspended the company’s permit to operate driverless vehicles in the state over its handling of the October incident.
GM’s lawsuit highlights a disagreement over tax assessments and underscores the perceived separation between GM and its self-driving subsidiary, Cruise. The lawsuit could shed light on the complexities and potential financial implications of integrating autonomous vehicle technology into traditional automotive business structures.
*Contents above are the opinion of ChatGPT, not an individual nor company