What is the future of the auto industry? Is it electric? Is it autonomous? A recent study shows priorities for each of the major automakers has been slightly different over recent years.
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Research compiled by parking management company Park Indigo and CrunchBase highlights which of the major auto companies have been investing the most cash into different emerging areas of the sector, from robotics to ride-sharing and everything in between.
Here’s a look at where the major auto companies’ venture capital segments seem to be placing their bets when it comes to the future of the industry.
The German-based automaker's venture capital branch has invested a whopping $670,800,000 since 2011, the report showed. The main focus of BMW’s investments has been on autonomous vehicles, where the automaker has spent $177.5 million. BMW has also invested a significant amount in robotics ($126 million) and electric vehicles ($109 million). In 2017 alone, BMW iVentures invested $159,000 in autonomous vehicles.
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Daimler, the maker of popular brands including Mercedes-Benz, has been betting big on electric vehicles since 2000. It has put $254.5 million toward that end, including investments in Tesla valued at $172.5 million. In total, over the past two decades, Daimler’s venture capital branch has disclosed a total of $632,189,235 in investments. While the automaker has also injected a lot of cash into autonomous vehicles, a big portion of its money was spent on an unspecified area other than ride sharing, robotics, software, autonomous and electric vehicles.
In 2017 alone, Daimler’s investment branch put $150 million into Careem, a transportation network company, and Uber rival, based in Dubai.
U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) disclosed total investments worth $338.7 million throughout the past 6 years, with the majority of its cash being put toward autonomous vehicle research ($159 million). GM has also invested heavily in renewables, with more than $123 million having been allocated toward that end. In 2017 alone, General Motors invested $159,000 in autonomous vehicles.
Ford Venture Capital Group
Out of $10.7 million worth of investments, Ford Venture Capital Group has put all of it toward software and apps. The data is from 2005, the most recent available from the automaker’s venture capital arm.
Toyota Research Institute
Toyota’s Research Institute spent the entirety of its $9 million investment on robotics in 2017.