Woven Planet Holdings, a Toyota company, has acquired its third acquisition in less than a year in its quest to invest in, develop, and eventually commercialize future-of-transportation technology such as automated driving.
This time, its Renovo Motors, a Silicon Valley-based automotive operating system developer that made its first major impression in 2015 with a video showing a self-driving DeLorean produced in collaboration with Stanford doing autonomous donuts. The deal’s terms were not released after it was completed. Renovo will be integrated into Woven Planet’s 1,240-person organization, which will keep its Silicon Valley location.
Woven Planet, which bought mapping startup Carmera and Lyft’s autonomous driving unit, Level 5, earlier this year, isn’t buying Renovo for its AV donut expertise. Renovo’s vehicle operating system has piqued the company’s interest, as it could aid in the company’s own efforts. Renovo created an operating system that may be used in automobiles to operate apps such as automated driving, navigation, and other mobility services that may provided to passengers. The operating system, dubbed AWare OS, functions similarly to Google’s Android, which allows app developers to create services on smartphones.
It’s even comparable to Amazon Web Services’ on-demand cloud computing architecture in some ways. This middleware provides a platform for other firms to distribute applications, as it is meant to be versatile without compromising security. Renovo was a minor participant in the burgeoning and now consolidating autonomous car business, with only 30 people. Nonetheless, its operating system drew the interest of a number of antivirus companies, including Voyage, which was later acquired by Cruise. In addition, the company attracted a number of investors, including Verizon.
In a recent interview, Renovo co-founder and CEO Chris Heiser remarked, “I think we’ve grown increasingly aware that the IP that Renovo produced is being recognized as key to what car manufacturers want to accomplish in the future.” “As we formed these relationships and tried to figure out how to get to scale — and by scale, I mean tremendous scale — it became evident that we needed to find a partner with the resources and backing of a carmaker, as well as millions and millions of cars to launch on.”
Woven Planet sees Renovo’s OS as a way to accelerate the commercialization of Arene, its open car development platform, which it plans to launch by 2025.
Woven Planet Holdings includes an investment arm known as Woven Capital as well as Woven City, a testing environment for innovative technologies located in an interconnected smart city prototype, which was integrated into Toyota Research Institute — Advanced Development Inc. or TRI-AD. Toyota broke construction in February at the Higashi-Fuji site in Susono City, Japan, at Mount Fuji’s base.