Delphi to acquire Boston self-driving car software firm

Charles E. Ramirez

Delphi Automotive PLC will acquire a Boston-based autonomous vehicle software company for $450 million, officials said Tuesday.

The move to acquire nuTonomy Inc. — backed in part by Fontinalis Partners, a Detroit-based venture capital firm co-founded by Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr. — will accelerate Delphi’s development of self-driving vehicles. The acquisition will accelerate Delphi’s development of self-driving vehicles.

“We couldn’t be more happy about (nuTonomy) joining Delphi,” said Glen De Vos, Delphi’s senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer. “Bringing them in really helps accelerate our scale and our expansion of capabilities. It really is a nice fit.”

Karl Iagnemma, a co-founder and CEO of nuTonomy, said the company is looking forward to getting work with Delphi started, which will happen as soon as the deal closes.

“This is a really exciting day for nuTonomy and, I think, for Delphi,” said Iagnemma, who started nuTonomy with Emilio Frazzoli in 2013. “What we’re doing here with this acquisition is bringing together two of the leading teams in the (autonomous vehicle) space. By doing that, we’re really accelerating the pace of this joint team for the future of automated driving.”

Under the deal, Delphi will pay nuTonomy $400 million up front and another $50 million in performance-based payments. The transaction is expected to close before year’s end.

Delphi’s acquisition of nuTonomy is the latest in a series of investments it’s made in the emerging mobility industry. It previously acquired autonomous driving software developer Ottomatika as well as data service companies Control-Tec and Movimento. Delphi plans to have 60 autonomous cars on the road across three continents by the end of 2017.

The company will add NuTonomy’s more than 100 employees to the more than 100 workers it has working on its autonomous driving team, officials said. After the sale, Delphi will have self-driving car technology operations in Boston, Pittsburgh, Singapore, Santa Monica, and Silicon Valley.

Last month, Delphi announced the names of the two companies it will split into by March 2018, Aptiv and Delphi Technologies. That announcement came four months after it said it would spin off its powertrain business to intensify its focus on autonomous vehicle efforts and the technology that supports them. Aptiv will concentrate on self-driving vehicle technology and Delphi Technologies will focus on vehicle powertrains.

Delphi president and chief executive officer Kevin Clark will become Aptiv’s CEO and Liam Butterworth, Delphi’s senior vice president and powertrain division president, will become Delphi Technologies’ CEO.

Delphi is scheduled to release its 2017 third quarter financial results on Nov. 2. In August, it reported second quarter revenues were up five percent to $4.3 billion. Based in Gillingham, England, Delphi operates technical centers, manufacturing sites and customer support services in 46 countries.

Shares of the company closed Monday at $97.77.