SoftBank has made another big bet on autonomous driving technology

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has made another big bet on autonomous driving technology, leading a $940 million investment into, which makes robot delivery vans. The deal adds to the Japanese investment fund’s expanding portfolio in transport and tech, following its $2.3 billion investment in Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving car unit, in May. Masayoshi Son’s $100 billion Vision Fund also holds stakes in ride-hailing services such as Uber and Didi, which harbour ambitions in autonomous driving. Soft-Bank formed a joint venture with Toyota in October, called Monet Technologies, to provide mobility services including food deliveries. Nuro was founded in Silicon Valley in 2016 by Jiajun Zhu and Dave Ferguson, two veterans of Google’s self-driving car team — now known as Waymo — after they decided that delivering groceries was a more achievable goal for autonomous vehicles than passenger-carrying robo-taxis… The influx of capital from SoftBank’s Vision Fund takes the start-up’s total financing to more than $1 billion. SoftBank’s investment values Nuro at $1.7 billion, excluding the new funds raised. The deal comes just a week after Aurora, another autonomous driving start-up founded by former Google engineers, raised $530 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and Amazon… 

Tim Bradshaw