Verizon (disclosure: Verizon owns Aol, which owns TechCrunch) has invested in self-driving software startup Renovo, which wants to become an autonomous operating system provider to leading automakers and fleet operators. The investment comes as part of a new $10 million round led by True Ventures, the Wall Street Journal reports, and boosts the total funding raised by the company to $14.5 million across two rounds.
Renovo’s been around since 2010, but made its first big splash in 2015 when it debuted a video of a self-driving DeLorean developed with Stanford doing autonomous donuts. The company recently joined the list of those allowed to perform self-driving vehicle tests on public roads in California; the state lists permit holders on its public-facing website.
Verizon staking out some territory in the self-driving space with an investment in Renovo is a strategic move, since the carrier sees its network and services as a core component of an autonomous driving future. Data transfer and collection will indeed be a huge part of bringing self-driving cars to consumers, both in the form of individual cars, and via self-driving fleets of ride-hailing vehicles of the kind being planned by Ford, GM and others.