Ridecell, which provides a platform for carsharing and ridesharing operators, has acquired Auro Robotics, a California-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology, in an all-stock transaction.
Ridecell also announced the public availability of its autonomous operations platform which has successfully been used in autonomous pilot programs.
With these two initiatives, Ridecell says it now offers “the industry’s first complete autonomous new mobility solution that enables on-demand autonomous shuttle mobility service in low-speed, private-road settings”.
The Auro acquisition will bring the expertise to accelerate the capabilities of the Ridecell autonomous operations platform.
The Auro team will become the Ridecell autonomous driving division.
Ridecell will be able to extensively test its autonomous operations platform in real-world environments through integration of Auro-enabled driverless shuttles in private road environments.
Ridecell says it will continue to collaborate with autonomous leaders to apply the Ridecell platform to the world’s leading self-driving vehicles for automated management of operational tasks such as cleaning, refueling, and emergency response situations.
Aarjav Trivedi, CEO of Ridecell, says: “The Auro acquisition and the launch of our autonomous operations platform represent the next phase of our strategy to provide a complete autonomous solution for Ridecell customers.
“We can now provide even more value for our autonomous customers and help mobility operators launch new carsharing, ridesharing, and on-demand shuttle services today that will accommodate the addition of autonomous vehicles without the need to change the underlying platform.
“The acquisition makes it possible to launch a proven autonomous shuttle service today in settings such as corporate and college campuses.”
Auro’s autonomous technology is the leading self-driving platform for low-speed deployments.
Auro partners with shuttle manufacturers to add self-driving capabilities to leading shuttle and neighborhood electric vehicle platforms.
These shuttles can safely drive people around within campuses, theme parks, resorts, business parks, and retirement communities.
Private environments with low-traffic, low-speed roads provide the perfect setting for deploying autonomous vehicles today.
Ridecell claims Auro-enabled shuttles were among the first driverless shuttles put into daily operation on the Santa Clara University campus in California and have already provided safe transportation to thousands of riders.
Nalin Gupta, CEO of Auro, says: “The technology behind Auro-enabled driverless shuttles, together with the Ridecell on-demand mobility platform, will help campuses and other private environments prove that autonomy can be an integral part of an urban transportation experience today, rather than just a short, fixed-route showcase.
“We are excited to join forces with Ridecell to make even bigger strides in autonomous new mobility.”
Auro was founded in 2013 by roboticists from Indian Institutes of Technology and Carnegie Mellon University, who have worked together on autonomous vehicles since 2011, and is backed by investors including Y Combinator and Motus ventures.
Ridecell autonomous operations platform
Ridecell also launched its new autonomous operations platform. The platform is designed to automate vehicle and operations management for autonomous fleets.
The platform gives autonomous vehicle fleets the intelligence to manage their own operational tasks, in both routine and emergency situations.
The platform can direct autonomous vehicles to operations depots for maintenance and route support vehicles to the autonomous vehicle for routine operational tasks such as cleaning as well as on-demand assistance in exceptional situations.
The platform also automates vehicle access so service personnel are able to enter the vehicle. Additionally, the platform automates reporting of autonomous compliance and risk data.