As part of its plan to broaden its horizon, Microsoft is said to be in talks to invest in the autonomous driving startup, Gatik as part of its cloud partnership.
The tech giant will reportedly pour some U$10 million into financing the startup putting Gatik’s valuation at over US$700 million according to a source.
Gatik will also be able to make use of Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing infrastructure such as Azure in order to develop enhanced autonomous delivery technology for trucks.
The terms of the deal could still change, added the sources, who requested anonymity to discuss private matters.
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Microsoft and Gatik declined to comment.
Microsoft is among the growing list of big tech companies that are investing in self-driving technologies. The tech giant also previously invested in Cruise which was making robot taxis. The deal with the company is said to be valued at US$30 billion.
Just like Gatik, Cruise will also make use of the Azure platform to build its autonomous vehicle solutions for commercial usage while being able to compete with Alphabet’s Waymo or Amazon’s Zoox.
Autonomous vehicles have been in the news for some time now as it’s being labeled as revolutionary to the transportation and logistics industry. However, there have been a number of setbacks due to regulatory concerns over their safety as well as their access to investment funds.
A good example of such would be that of big automakers like Volkswagen and Ford which both shut down their self-driving technology unit, Argo AI because they felt it would be “harder than putting a man on the moon.”
On the other hand is Gatik which was founded in 2017 by Gautam Narang and Arjun Narang with a focus on middle-mile, business-to-business logistics for the retail industry.
The company has launched fully-autonomous commercial delivery services with Walmart and Loblaw Companies where Gatik offers short-haul deliveries in box trucks in Arkansas, USA, and Ontario, Canada.
Since its launch, the company has raised about US$120 million from investors such as Koch Disruptive Technologies, Innovation Endeavors, Goodyear Ventures, and RyderVentures.
Before the end of the first quarter of this year, the startup also plans to integrate its class 6 autonomous box trucks into the Pitney Bowes e-commerce logistics network in Dallas, Texas in an attempt to enhance deliveries and cut logistics costs.