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Woven Planet Holdings has made its third autonomous vehicle-related acquisition in less than six months. The Toyota Motor subsidiary today acquired Renovo Motors, a developer of software for automotive applications. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Renovo’s operating system, called AWare OS, is designed for various applications, including autonomous vehicles. For example, Voyage, an autonomous vehicle startup acquired by Cruise in March 2021, licensed AWare OS for use across its fleet of automated vehicles. Renovo also partnered with Stanford University on an autonomous, drifting DeLorean. Renovo also has a data-management platform that enables automakers to learn from their vehicles.
Woven Planet said this acquisition will play a key role in the development of its Arene open vehicle development platform. Woven Planet said Arene “is a vehicle development platform with state-of-the-art tools, vehicle Application Programming Interface (APIs) and safety building-blocks which allow rapid iteration to shorten the time from concept to deployment.
Renovo, which is a small company with just 30 employees, will maintain its Silicon Valley office and be integrated into Woven Planet’s 1,240-person operation.
In July, Woven Planet acquired HD mapping startup Carmera for an undisclosed amount. Carmera and Toyota were already familiar with each other. The companies collaborated on multiple projects from 2018-2020 in Detroit, Michigan, and Japan.
And in April, Lyft sold its self-driving unit to Woven Planet for $550 million in cash. Lyft launched the unit, called Level 5, in 2017 and said that by 2021 “a majority” of its rides would take place in autonomous vehicles. Like predictions made by other autonomous vehicle companies, Lyft’s never came to fruition.
“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,” said Nikos Michalakis, senior VP of software platform, Woven Planet Holdings. “With Renovo having deep roots in the space, we immediately recognized the opportunity and inherent value of the company. The technical and cultural fit could not have been better and all of us are excited to bring our expertise and technology together to power a new era of automotive technology.”
Toyota has also invested $400 million in Pony.ai, a self-driving startup based in the U.S. and China.
Chief Executive James Kuffner said more acquisitions may be coming.
“The big picture is Woven Planet creating a ‘dream team’ of software and vehicle engineering people globally to deliver the world’s programmable and safest mobility. That’s the context,” James Kuffner, CEO of Woven Planet Holdings, told The Associated Press. “Always as an executive, you are trying to balance the speed and the growth versus the focus and maintaining company culture. The larger you grow, the risk is that you slow down,” he said.
“We will keep growing, but we are going to be careful.”