A couple weeks after acquiring Caviar, DoorDash made another acquisition. This time the fast-growth delivery company acquired automation and remote-driving startup, Scotty Labs.
Don’t fret if the company’s name doesn’t ring a bell. The young startup was founded in March 2017 and didn’t make a ton of noise, although it was able to raise $6 million in a series A funding round. The company is comprised of seven PhDs and researchers, and was largely focused on the nerdy stuff behind the robots, as cofounder Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote in a Medium post announcing the acquisition.
“We have intentionally always considered ourselves to be the anti-hype company and focused intensely on developing core infrastructure and algorithms with a healthy degree of human intelligence to ensure the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles,” wrote Arodiogbu.
But it wasn’t all math and code in a dark corner of a WeWork. The company proved out that infrastructure via a successful test of a driverless truck and by remotely driving a car around San Francisco.
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, nor were DoorDash’s plans to utilize the new technology and team. But it expands the company’s automation exploration, building on a partnership with General Motors’ autonomous vehicle division Cruise Automation announced in January 2019. The company had said it would begin testing in early 2019, but hasn’t announced the outcome or timeline of those tests.
DoorDash also brought on the cofounders of Lvl5, a company that builds maps for autonomous driving technology. So the band seems to be coming together in a big way with the hardware from Cruise, the maps from Lvl5 and the algorithms to bring it all together from Scotty Labs.
The acquisition sounds a lot like Amazon’s 2017 acquisition of Dispatch, which went on to develop Amazon’s Scout delivery robot, but time will tell how the acquisitive company will forge ahead with autonomous operations.