Last year, I wrote about our series B investment in Applied Intuition, which builds simulation software and infrastructure tools to safely test and validate autonomous vehicles at scale. Now, just a little over a year later, so much has changed — a global pandemic, among other things! — but it’s yet another example of where software kept the innovation going: Applied Intuition’s simulation-based approach allowed many autonomous vehicle programs in the global auto and transportation industry to safely continue their testing and development, despite physical (and other) constraints on the road to development.
So I am pleased to announce a16z’s Series C investment in Applied Intuition; we’ve been on this journey with them since the beginning, and continue to be impressed by their speed of execution, advancements in technology, and team. Co-founders Qasar Younis and Peter Ludwig not only have founder-market fit — with deep domain expertise in automotive, software, and simulation — but they’ve demonstrated an industry expertise that transcends time and place, reflecting the world today: both grew up in Detroit, built their company in Silicon Valley, and have a global team with customers across different industries.
Most importantly, Applied Intuition has demonstrated significant progress on product — especially on safety and performance — with applications for every stage of development, continuing to pave the way for the near future of autonomous vehicles (of all kinds). It’s only a matter of time: Just last week, Waymo announced the launch of a fully-driverless service to the general public in Phoenix; General Motors’ Cruise was just approved to test driverless vehicles in specified streets of San Francisco; and German lawmakers are working to expand autonomous vehicles for deliveries, shuttle services, medical transport, and more, while observing that “the vast majority of all traffic accidents in Germany are based on human error”. Autonomy is already here, it’s just not very evenly distributed… and it is our future.