(Reuters) – Delphi Automotive said on Tuesday it will buy self-driving car software startup nuTonomy for $450 million, helping to put automated vehicles using its technology into commercial use in 2019, a year earlier than planned.
Delphi and nuTonomy have been testing automated vehicles in Singapore, where regulators announced plans on Monday to halt growth in its vehicle population to ease traffic congestion. The city-state has been at the forefront of promoting self-driving cars.
Automakers and suppliers are investing in self-driving cars and ride services in part as insurance against such moves by the world’s largest cities to limit private, petroleum-fuelled car use.
London on Monday said it would charge an additional 10 pound tax on older diesel cars entering certain parts of the city.
General Motors has been testing its self-driving cars in San Francisco and will begin testing in New York City.
“As cities get more crowded, infrastructure has trouble keeping up,” nuTonomy chief executive Karl Iagnemma told Reuters on Tuesday. Ride services using autonomous vehicles could meet transportation needs with fewer cars on the road, he said.
“Cities like Singapore and London are going to show the rest of the world what’s possible,” he said.
The nuTonomy acquisition will double Delphi’s self-driving team to more than 200 engineers and scientists, said Glen DeVos, Delphi’s chief technology officer.
The initial application of the auto supplier’s self-driving cars will be in on-demand passenger and logistics fleets. Those vehicles, DeVos said, will be heavily automated and used in pre-mapped areas in cities.
Delphi said it plans to have 60 self-driving test cars on the road in three continents by year-end. The nuTonomy deal is expected to close before then.
Morgan Stanley was exclusive adviser to nuTonomy. GCA Advisors LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co advised Delphi.
(By Paul Lienert and Joseph White; Reporting by Paul Lienert; Editing by Susan Thomas and Tom Brown)