Auro Robotics – Self-Driving Vehicle Technology is Acquired by Car-Sharing Service, Ridecell

We are excited to share that Auro Robotics, our portfolio startup is acquired by Ridecell, a San Francisco based car-sharing and ride-sharing service. The financial details of the deal are kept confidential. Auro Robotics builds self-driving shuttles that move passengers in private and public spaces like university campuses, museums and parks etc. and after its acquisition, Ridecell can add a variety of automated services to their list.

“We want to get autonomous shuttles into private environments — places like universities, theme parks, resorts, business parks, retirement communities — where the regulations will allow them to cruise around and pick up people,” said Mark Thomas, Ridecell vice president. Auro’s 10 employees will join Ridecell’s 100-person staff.

In addition, Ridecell is now offering its fleet-management software for companies with robot vehicles to handle maintenance, repairs and other issues. Thomas said it has one taker so far, whose name it cannot disclose.

“Companies that have been training their cars on how to drive can use our software to train the cars on what to do if something goes wrong,” Thomas said. “We will help them automate their routine and emergency maintenance, to keep the cars on the road, cleaned and maintained.”

“We’ll need to build in all the intelligence to keep the fleet in top condition and handle what arises,” Thomas said. “If there’s a breakdown, if the weather is bad, we can orchestrate all the people needed to pick up the car and take it to its next destination.”

Ridecell already addresses such issues for vehicles used for car-sharing, the industry term for short-term flexible rentals.

Its car-sharing clients include BMW’s ReachNow service in Seattle, Portland, Ore., and Brooklyn; AAA’s Gig Car Share in Oakland and Berkeley; and Volkswagen’s Omni car-sharing service in Poland. In addition, its software underlies shuttle services for various campuses, including UCSF and UC Berkeley.

Please read full story at San Francisco Chronicle.