Founded in 2011 and base in Palo Alto, California, CloudCar offers a platform that connects car manufacturers with a host of services for safely connecting cars to the internet. These include machine-learning smarts, such as natural language processing (NLP) that allows drivers to request apps and services using normal speech, while keeping their eyes firmly on the road.
CloudCar also lets carmakers have a software development kit (SDK) to tailor the “look and feel” of the in-car information/ entertainment setup and lets them customize it with proprietary services. The system also makes it easy to expand geographically without requiring firmware updates.
Having already raised $11.5 million when it was still in stealth mode back in 2012, this latest inflow of funds brings the company’s total outside investment past the $25 million mark.
A subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors, since it was acquired from Ford in 2008, Jaguar Land Rover last year launched a new independent venture called InMotion, with a special emphasis on steering the company towards the internet age. The company revealed at the time that it would begin working on services that leverage smartphones and “other connected devices” and would begin testing a number of services in the real world.
However, many of those are likely still in the early stages. Partnering with CloudCar helps Jaguar Land Rover fulfill just this goal, furthering its connected credentials in the near-term, since in addition to investing, Jaguar Land Rover has said it will adopt CloudCar’s platform for its first all-electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-Pace, which was announced last year. Hanno Kirner, Jaguar Land Rover’s executive director of corporate strategy, explained,
This represents an important step in developing connected car technology. CloudCar has been working with premium manufacturers on some of the most exciting opportunities and challenges in the fields of machine learning and infotainment. This investment is integral to Jaguar Land Rover’s vehicle technology programme: but the programme also presents an invaluable opportunity for other automotive manufacturers to get involved.
Hanno added the eventual need to integrate into the car hundreds of driver-focused global cloud services and content means this platform is an excellent example where cooperation between OEMs can improve outcomes for customers, as well as reducing costs.
According to Gartner, there will be a quarter of a billion connected cars on the road by 2020, thus explaining the numerous investments in the connected car space. Back in November, cloud-based connected car startup Otonomo raised $12 million, while Automile — a startup that helps companies manage their vehicle fleets — secured a $6.2 million investment. Elsewhere, AI-focused mapping startup Civil Maps raised $6.6 million and FiveAI closed a $2.7 million funding round for its machine-learning smarts that could underpin the autonomous cars of the future.