October 24, 2017
Boston-based nuTonomy, co-founded by LIDS alum and faculty member Emilio Frazzoli, announced today that it will be acquired by industry giant Delphi Automotive. NuTonomy is a leading startup in the burgeoning autonomous-vehicle space, and is being purchased for $400 million—with additional payments totaling as much as $50 million projected in earn-outs.
Frazzoli and co-founder Karl Iagnemma (an MIT alum and former Research Scientist in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering) launched nuTonomy in 2013. The company started raising venture capital funds to develop driverless taxi fleets in 2015. This is one of nuTonomy’s core projects, and it builds into a larger aim: to offer autonomous vehicles as an efficient, eco-friendly, and viable urban mobility solution—an alternative to car ownership that big city centers are slowly beginning to embrace. (Earlier this year, nuTonomy became the first company to test self-driving cars in Boston.) “Our mission has always been to radically improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of transportation worldwide,” said Iagnemma in nuTonomy’s press release about the acquisition. “Joining forces with Delphi brings us one step closer to achieving our goal.”
Frazzoli credits his LIDS background with a part in nuTonomy’s success: “There are plenty of LIDS influences in our work at nuTonomy, I’m very proud of my time with the lab.”
Frazzoli carried out his doctoral research in LIDS under the supervision of Professors Munther Dahleh and Eric Feron (now at the Georgia Institute of Technology). Frazzoli received his PhD from the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro) in 2001. He returned to MIT in 2006 as a professor in the AeroAstro Department, joining LIDS as a Principal Investigator. He has been at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich since 2016. His main research interests lie in the general area of planning and control for mobile robotic systems, with a particular emphasis on autonomous vehicles and transportation networks. He has received numerous awards, including the IEEE Kiyo Tomiyasu Award and the IEEE George S. Axelby Award.