The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Argo AI Invests $15 million in AV Research; O2 and the European Space Agency to Collaborate on Connectivity; and More

by Stefan Broekhuizen | July 01, 2019

Argo AI is investing $15 million into a self-driving car research center at CMU

The company recently released Argoverse—a collection of curated data and high-definition maps acquired during the company’s AV testing—to researchers, free of charge.

Self-driving car startup Argo AI announced Monday they have pledged $15 million over five years toward the formation of a new research center for autonomous vehicles at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Argo’s research team will consist of five leading faculty members and support graduate students pursuing doctorates. Argo hopes the research will eventually enable large-scale AV deployment. The company recently released Argoverse—a collection of curated data and high-definition maps acquired during the company’s AV testing—to researchers, free of charge. CMU students participating in the center’s AV research will have more extensive access to Argo’s data, beyond what was previously released. Argo’s pledge is consistent with recent moves by Waymo, nuTonomy, Uber, Cruise and Intel to either release datasets, open-source tools, or create academic research centers. In aggregate, these suggest a desire to leverage development resources outside each company and a recognition that no one individual company can solve all the technical challenges posed by AV development.

O2 and the European Space Agency to support trial exploring connectivity solutions for autonomous vehicles
The United Kingdom Space Agency is partnering with UK telecommunications company O2 to launch Project Darwin, a four-year testing program to explore end-to-end connectivity solutions for AVs. The companies will test data connections using 5G and next-generation satellite communications. Project Darwin will commence its “high-level design and definition phase” at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, where the program is based, in July. O2 set 2020 as a hopeful release date for the project’s first “proof of concepts.” Project Darwin represents the latest development in the combination of AV and 5G technology. In May, SAFE released an Issue Brief detailing 5G’s future benefits for AVs, including improvements in vehicle sensors and intelligent transportation networks. 5G, due to its high speeds—10 to 100 times faster than current 4G technology—has the potential to support the massive data needs of AVs, which can consume up to 10 terabytes of data per day.

Humanising Autonomy raises $5.3M Seed investment to expand pedestrian prediction software globally
Software developer Humanising Autonomy announced it has raised $5.3 million in seed funding to expand its pedestrian prediction software globally, at scale. Funding was led by the Anthemis group and included Silicon Valley-based Synapse Partners. Humanising Autonomy produces an intent prediction platform that anticipates pedestrian behavior at all levels, with the aim of making AVs safer and more efficient in urban environments. The software also integrates with driver-assist features for current conventional vehicles. Humanising Autonomy has already introduced their software in the UK, where the company is based, as well as the US, Japan, and Germany. They aim to use the funds to further the reach of their software across all levels of vehicle automation and expand their deployments to more markets globally.

Amitai Bin-Nun, SAFE’s Vice President of Autonomous Vehicles, will be attending TechCrunch Mobility in San Jose, CA on July 10.
Robbie Diamond, SAFE’s CEO, will be speaking at the 17th Asilomar Biennial Conference on Transportation Energy and Policy in Monterey, CA on July 11.
If you’d like to schedule a meeting with SAFE staff and leadership at these events, please reach out to Amitai Bin-Nun at