Growing up in Detroit, America’s motor city, neither of us could have imagined a career that did not involve the greatest invention of the industrial age: the automobile. From as early as we can remember we were drawn to cars, and between us we have spent nearly two decades working as engineers at various automotive & transportation-related companies, from General Motors and Bosch to Android Automotive and Google Maps. In all of these experiences, we have been spurred on by a shared belief that the story of the automobile is constantly evolving, that new chapters are always being written. Indeed, ever since Karl Benz introduced the first automobile (a hybrid word, from the Greek word autos or “self” and from the Latin word mobilis or “movable”) in 1885, engineers have sought to perfect it. Whether through power steering, automatic brake systems, or cruise control, we’ve continued to enhance our vehicles to make them safer and more intelligent. And yet the automobile’s next chapter might be its most exciting. Since the days of Benz, engineers have always hoped for and expected our vehicles to be autonomous. At Applied Intuition, Inc. (Applied), we are helping to write this next chapter, making the engineers’ dream a reality by giving autonomous vehicle (AV) companies the infrastructure they need to develop and train their AV’s faster, more cheaply, and more safely.
Why now? AV technology is moving rapidly from research projects to deployment, and the number of AV’s interacting with humans is exploding. Along with this, the challenges for ensuring system safety are increasing dramatically. Unlike the driver assistance systems deployed today - in which the driver is assumed to be attentive - AV’s have to perform safely in any real world scenarios, including the graceful handling of system failures. Simulation has emerged as a key enabler for this development, since physical testing alone has limitations and risks. The key benefits of simulation include speed (millions of miles in simulation vs hundreds of miles for physical vehicles), repeated testing of scenarios for software improvement, and ability to validate software on thousands of variations of what a physical car saw in the real world… In other words, simulation allows AV’s to be tested at a scale that simply would not otherwise be possible.
For organizations looking to deploy their own AVs, building simulation software is a tall order. It requires a specialized skill set which is in short supply, and it takes away resources from the critical AV software which is their end goal. Getting the basics up and running might seem easy depending on the application. Building a validated, scaled, maintained solution that engineers can depend on is a much higher bar. At Applied Intuition, this scaled solution has been our core focus, and we have become a critical provider of this technology. We’ve assembled an incredible team that understands not only how robotics software is developed, but also its relationship to automotive technology and industry. Our senior engineers come from Google X, Waymo, Bosch, Delphi/Aptiv, Tesla, Toyota, and Apple, to name a few. In addition, we have seasoned professionals in sales, operations, and public policy. We are thrilled to already be working with several major customers inside and outside of Silicon Valley, all of whom are using our products on a daily basis. The customers using Applied’s software have sped up their development process by 10x, while ensuring safety in their AV algorithms. In addition to simulation, we are already working with partners to offer infrastructure solutions that extend our software onto the vehicle itself. Our mission is a simple one: accelerate autonomy development and deployment.
Backed by Andreessen Horowitz’s Marc Andreessen and Floodgate’s Mike Maples, we are thrilled to officially announce Applied’s $11.5M Series A funding. We have known Marc and Mike for years and cannot ask for better partners as we seek to revolutionize autonomous vehicle infrastructure.
We also have a group of other investors whom we dearly respect and appreciate: John Doerr (KPCB), Lux Capital (Bilal Zuberi), Haystack (Semil Shah), Naval Ravikant (AngelList), Tribe Capital (Arjun Sethi), Village Global (Erik Torenberg), Liquid2, SV Angel, Ilya Sukar (Matrix), Neeraj Arora, Zeno Ventures, Josh Buckley, Immad Akhund, and Elad Gil, among others.
At Applied, we are building software to make the future we’ve all dreamed of a reality. If you’re interested, come join us for the ride.
By Qasar & Peter