Joining forces with Toyota’s advanced mobility subsidiary, Woven Planet
Today, I couldn’t be more excited to announce the next chapter in the story of CARMERA:
We have agreed to be acquired by Woven Planet, as it pioneers a new software-first approach to automotive technology for the Toyota Motor Corporation!
More specifically, we will become part of Woven Planet’s Automated Mapping Platform (AMP) team, with whom we have collaborated for several years, originally as part of Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development (TRI-AD).
As “hand-in-glove” matches go, this one is right at the top. Beyond our history of commercial successes and collegiality, we share a number of critical, common bonds:
- Mission: Few companies in history have embodied the “For All” ideals we hold so deeply the way Toyota has. Their famous “Mobility for All” motto was originally manifested in manufacturing, and now endures in Toyota’s software-first charter for Woven Planet, which carries this mission into a new era.
- Strategy: Multiple Woven Planet initiatives, including AMP, combine an open-platform approach with the backing and trust of the leading stalwart in automotive. That gap between maximum accessibility and automotive-grade output on a global level is exactly what CARMERA set out to address from its founding.
- Technology: AMP’s strengths in high definition (HD) map creation—using the latest in satellite and remote sensing, in addition to their deep in-vehicle competencies—are complemented perfectly by CARMERA’s strengths in logistics and camera-based crowdsourcing, for both map generation and change.
- Culture: Years ago we took inspiration from a number of exemplars in describing our company values, which at CARMERA are integral to hiring, reviews, management and who we are. It is fitting that one source we borrowed from was the classic Toyota Way principles, including concepts like hansei reflected in our “always learning” ideals, and genchi gembutsu reflected in our call to “go and see for yourself” to get the facts.
Looking back over six years ago, when Justin and I started CARMERA above a brewery in Brooklyn, it is truly remarkable to think about the journey that each and every Carmerian has navigated to get to this new phase in both our company and our industry. While we have traversed the winding road that all startups go through, this particular period has been unique—downright historic—with regard to the once-in-a-century changes the world at large, and the transportation sector specifically, has experienced. Despite all of that change, it is highly gratifying to know that our core, founding mandate remains — that next-generation mobility demands a new approach to building a truly “4D” spatial index of ever-changing roads, everywhere and accessible to all.
As we look ahead, we are incredibly energized to both double down and scale up the products we have successfully brought to market, with the uniquely robust backing of Woven Planet’s deep automotive roots and software-first DNA. These offerings include:
- Our Fleet Monitoring service to crowdsource data at high frequency while improving the safety of commercial fleet vehicles.
- Our HD/MD mapping technology to generate maps that machines and humans need — both today and in the future.
- Our Change-as-a-Service suite to provide the world’s highest quality, most scalable platform for change management, compatible with any hardware or software platform.
And indeed, when we talk about terms like quality and scale, there is simply no greater bar than what is required to power safe, reliable automated driving at the ubiquity of the largest automotive OEMs on the planet. It is invigorating to take on such a challenge, and we will do so with the same balance of audacity and humility that has gotten us this far.
We’re also delighted to be joining not just a single unit, but a broader family of companies across Woven Planet Holdings, which consists of:
- Woven Core: Delivering today’s most advanced automated driving technology for Toyota.
- Woven Alpha: Building tomorrow’s most transformational innovations in mobility and urban living, including Woven City, Arene and AMP.
- Woven Capital: Investing in the companies building the future of autonomous mobility, automation, AI, machine learning, data and analytics, connectivity, and smart cities.
Altogether, Woven Planet Holdings stands at over 1,000 employees across the world, from its Tokyo headquarters to its newly acquired Bay Area and London AV engineering centers, and now the New York and Seattle offices of CARMERA that will help further accelerate Woven Planet’s talent depth and breadth of ambition across the world.
There will be so much more to say as we work toward close and fully join forces with our new Woven Planet family later this year and beyond. For now, I’d like to end with our heartfelt gratitudes for all that have been there for us:
- Firstly, to Woven Planet CEO James Kuffner, Head of AMP Mandali Khalesi and all of the members of the original TRI-AD and now Woven Planet teams, who managed to find and embrace the precocious vision of a scrappy crowdsourced mapping startup years ago.
- To all of our commercial partners, suppliers and colleagues in the mobility community; we have been fortunate to work and become friends with simply the brightest and most decent humans in the industry, and we can’t wait to continue our work with Woven Planet and CARMERA’s shared principles of democratizing transformational technology.
- To all of our investors and advisers through the years, many of whom could see possibility that we hadn’t yet uncovered ourselves, and all of whom played both cheerleader and truth-talker when we needed each most, and always got their wires in on time :)
- To the various academic, innovation and industry institutions that have given us homes, introduced us to key talent, facilitated commercial and public sector relationships, and more, including: NYC Resistor, Princeton University’s Keller Center, NYU Future Labs, Newlab and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, University of Washington’s CoMotion Labs, University of Michigan’s Mcity and Techlab, Michigan State University’s CANVAS lab, Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE), and many others.
- And finally, and most importantly, to all Carmerians, our families, our mentors, our friends … our pets! … for the unending love and support for what we’ve built together. You have so much to be proud of: from making roads safer with the technologies of today, to building the next great spatial platform of the future, all while creating value and opportunity — For All.