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Top Autonomous Self-Driving Car Unicorns to Watchout

Autonomous self-driving car

Take a closer look at the top autonomous self-driving car start-ups that have achieved unicorn status

Autonomous self-driving cars have now become a trend in the world. There are big automakers and technology companies involved in the automation industry, but it is the start-ups that are making their place in the industry with new inventions. In a populous field of more than 300 start-ups in self-driving cars, let’s take a closer look at the top autonomous self-driving car companies that have achieved unicorn status.


Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar provides smart, powerful lidar solutions for autonomous vehicles, driver assistance, delivery solutions, robotics, navigation, mapping, and more. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif, Velodyne is known worldwide for its portfolio of breakthrough lidar sensor technologies. Velodyne’s high-performance product line includes a broad range of sensing solutions, including the cost-effective Puck™, the versatile Ultra Puck™, the autonomy-advancing Alpha Prime™, the ADAS-optimized Velarray™, and the groundbreaking software for driver assistance, Vella™. As a market leader, Velodyne has served more than 300 customers including nearly all of the leading global automotive original equipment manufacturers.



Zoox was founded to make personal transportation safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable for everyone. To achieve that goal, the team created a whole new form of transportation.

Zoox intends to provide mobility-as-a-service in dense urban environments. In 2020, Zoox joined forces with Amazon. And in the process, solidified its future in the autonomous vehicle industry. The start-up is focused on testing on private and public roads as we move towards launching the first Zoox ride-hailing service. Zoox is reinventing personal transportation making the future safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable for everyone. It’s on-demand autonomous ride-hailing.


Quanergy Systems

Quanergy Systems was founded in 2012 and builds on decades of experience of its team in the areas of optics, photonics, optoelectronics, artificial intelligence software, and control systems. Its mission is to create powerful, affordable smart LiDAR solutions for automotive and IoT applications to enhance people’s experiences and safety. Quanergy has developed the only true 100% solid-state CMOS LiDAR sensor built on optical phased array (OPA) technology to enable the mass production of low-cost, highly reliable 3D LiDAR solutions. Through Quanergy’s smart LiDAR solutions, businesses can now leverage real-time, advanced 3D insights to transform their operations in a variety of industries including industrial automation, physical security, smart cities, smart spaces, and much more.

Quanergy’s S3 is the industry’s only 100% CMOS solid-state LiDAR sensor designed to enhance mobility and save the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

By utilizing an industry-first Optical Phased Array (OPA) technology and affordable and scalable CMOS silicon processes, the S3 provides unique electronic beam steering without any moving parts, thus offering immunity to vibration, over 100,000 hours MTBF, and the low cost required for the transportation industry.



LeddarTech is a leader in environmental sensing solutions for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems. Founded in 2007, LeddarTech has evolved to become an end-to-end environmental sensing company that solves critical sensing and perception challenges across the automotive and mobility value chain. The scalable, versatile, auto and mobility LiDAR platform enables the design of automotive-grade LiDARs by Tier-1 manufacturers and AD system integrators, which allows the mass deployment of advanced driving assistance and self-driving car solutions by automotive OEMs.



ClearMotion replaces a car’s shock absorbers with powerful, fast-acting software and actuators that pull/push each wheel, delivering an experience like no other.

By 2017, ClearMotion emerged with a product for cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks partnering with Bridgestone, Qualcomm, and a host of auto suppliers to introduce the technology into production vehicles. ClearMotion’s advanced operating system has an arsenal of resources. Using a precise, millimeter-level HD map of the road surface ahead, advanced control theory algorithms continually adjust suspension parameters to enable the best ride possible. An additional layer of reinforcement learning algorithms continually learns the road’s profile improving the rides over time.



Nauto is a real-time, AI-enabled driver and fleet safety platform to predict, prevent, and reduce high-risk events in the mobility ecosystem. By analyzing billions of data points from over 1 billion AI-analyzed video miles, Nauto’s machine learning algorithms continuously improve and impact driver behavior before events happen, not after.

Nauto AI fleet management software is being deployed by commercial fleets around the world to reduce distracted driving and prevent collisions before they occur.

Nauto only surfaces the safety insights that matter most to protect the privacy of commercial drivers. By deploying AI on the edge, it can detect distracted driving and immediately coach drivers with in-cab notifications. Only a fraction of driving time such as distractions or other high-risk events is uploaded to the cloud, where it’s synthesized into actionable insights to enable fleet management and safety leaders to identify and coach high-risk drivers.



Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Mountain View, California, Waymo is the developer of an autonomous driving technology called Waymo Driver. Its goal is to make it safe and easy for people and things to move around. Waymo One is the company’s ride-hailing service, while Waymo focuses on transporting commercial goods. Their products use sensors and artificial intelligence to detect pedestrians, cyclists, other vehicles, and roadwork.

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