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GM backed startup Wejo announced partnerships with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo Holdings to improve its ability to collect, store and analyze data from millions of connected vehicles around the world. Wejo announced it would be going public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, Virtuoso Acquisition $VOSO, which is expected to close later this year.

Wejo Journey Intelligence

Wejo announced it would be going public by merging with a special purpose acquisition company, Virtuoso Acquisition $VOSO, which is expected to close later this year.

Wejo got a $25 million commitment from Microsoft and Sompo, combined with already-committed investors GM and Palantir, bring Wejo’s total PIPE financing to $125 million. Software developer Palantir has been a previous strategic investor in Wejo. In 2019, PLTR launched a Japanese joint venture with insurance provider Sompo. Now this venture’s partnership with Wejo will give the startup the chance to collect connected vehicle data in Japan, and perhaps the greater Asia-Pacific region.

Wejo already has some live vehicles in Korea, but 95% of its data comes from the U.S., according to Richard Barlow, Wejo’s founder and CEO. Sompo will analyze Wejo’s connected vehicle data using the Palantir Foundry data and analytics platform, according to the company.

Earlier this year GM unveiled the production version of the Cadillac Lyriq, its first all-electric vehicle as the automaker confirmed that every new Cadillac vehicle will be all-electric starting now. Cadillac brand should be all-electric a little bit ahead of the rest of General Motors target of electric only by 2035.

“The vast majority of cars now sold globally have this ability to be connected, so there’s a huge opportunity,” Barlow told TechCruch. “We have 11 million live cars on our platform out of a supply base of about 50 million vehicles. We have over 17 OEM partners live on the platform, and we’re processing 16 billion data points a day, a peak of about 40,000 per second, which explains why we’re also excited to be backed by Microsoft and to be migrating to their Azure cloud platform.”

Barlow says Wejo can see 7% of all vehicles moving around New York, 6% around California and 20% around Detroit from partnerships with automakers like GM, Daimler and Hyundai.

The company can either hand off raw, anonymized data, collected from vehicles with the consent of the owner, to businesses, developers or governments, or it can perform data analytics for them, which is also where the partnership with Microsoft can come in handy.

“Microsoft came up with a really compelling solution about how we can leverage their machine learning and AI capabilities to actually provide even more incredible products back to OEMs and key industries that want to use connected vehicle data,” said Barlow. “So Microsoft’s Azure doing that heavy lifting is really going to speed up our business.”

Wejo and Microsoft are discussing mapping solutions.Recall only recently NVidia announced it is continuing its expansion of dynamic future segments. Self-driving is the latest, after announcing its acquisition of DeepMap who produce detailed and accurate high-fidelity 3D maps. $NVDA has been dominating Gaming and Big Data chips markets.

Barlow says mapping companies are often typical buyers of Wejo’s data and expects to see more insurance providers.

“We’ve seen 11 million instances of two vehicles coming together, and in real time, we’re getting data from both those vehicles,” said Barlow. “So we’re starting to preempt and understand the characteristics or behaviours of before and after that collision or that interaction of vehicles.”

For example Wejo collects data that can recreate a car crash it can then share this kind of data back to the insurer to help speed up the claims and recovery process and make repairs be more accurate, said Barlow. All of this data demonstrating human driving behaviors in a range of circumstances has been collected over the last seven years, making Wejo an attractive partner for companies developing autonomous technology.

The GM partnership is significant, earlier this year GM announced its move to all elecric Cadillacs. 

"This is the spark. The dawn of a bright new era. Our electric future, rooted in more than a century of innovation, begins with an uncompromising electric SUV. Meet the Cadillac LYRIQ. An EV that inspires its driver to charge forward to a greater purpose—with every sublime detail. Prepare yourself for our newest creation."

GM LYriQ

Tuesday GM held a virtual unveiling of the "THE CADILLAC OF EVs" LYRIQ. Available to reserve in September of 2021 From: $58,795†

General Motors reported a surprisingly large beat on Q1 earnings. After Ford (F) announced the week prior that it would slash Q2 production rates and lose 10% of planned 2H21 production due to the global chip shortage GM surprised.

GM did acknowledge the chip shortage will be a headwind but did not offer sort of the doomsday scenario that Ford did. GM reaffirmed full year EPS guidance. GM posted EPS of $2.25, more than double the consensus of $0.97, while revenue missed slightly.

Although both GM and Ford reaffirmed adjusted EBIT guidance for 2021, GM expects to be on the higher end of adjusted EBIT guidance, which could indicate that GM is having fewer supplier issues than Ford. This slight variation may be related to one of Ford's chip suppliers in Japan having suffered a fire.

Similar to Ford, GM is also expecting Q2 to see the biggest impact from the chip shortage, which implies that 2H21 will see some improvement. 

GM is excited the upcoming launch of the redesigned Chevrolet Bolt EV and the new Bolt EUV this summer. The chip shortage will not affect these launches.

GM talked of recovery in China as a performance driver. China makes up over 40% of total vehicle sales for GM, so this is a crucial market for the company. In sum, investors are breathing a sigh of relief with GM's earnings today. Ford said the broader global semiconductor shortage may not be fully resolved until 2022. However, the good news is that consumer demand for new vehicles remains brisk.

For GM The initial availability of the Cadillac is in the first half of 2022. GM also said that it plans to move the brand into only releasing electric vehicles. Rory Harvey, head of Cadillac, said that from now on, the brand will only unveil all-electric vehicles.  However the brand’s lineup of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is fairly fresh, and therefore, they plan to keep selling more gas-powered cars for the foreseeable future.

Harvey expects that Cadillac will not be selling any ICE vehicles by the end of the decade: “We will be leaving this decade as an EV brand, as things stand today, which means we will not be selling ICE vehicles by 2030.”

Therefore, the Cadillac brand should be all-electric a little bit ahead of the rest of General Motors, which recently announced the aspiration to be electric-only by 2035. GM's ad says "Driving the 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ includes so much more than leaving gas behind. LYRIQ offers available Super Cruise,† the first true hands-free driver assistance technology for compatible roads. And with an ever-growing network, you can travel on over 200,000 miles of compatible roads throughout the U.S. and Canada." The Cadillac Lyriq is going into production early next year, and it will be followed by the Celestiq, which GM has been teasing over the last year.

Electric Hummer

GM is also bringing back Hummer as an all-electric sub-brand of GMC, starting with a new pickup truck and an SUV to follow shortly after with Super Cruise†, HUMMER EV with driver-assistance technology for hands-free driving and automatic lane changing works on more than 200,000 miles of compatible roads and growing. Gm says the world is now the home of two revolutionary all-electric supertrucks—the HUMMER EV Pickup and the HUMMER EV SUV.

GM Hummer

 Source: TechCrunch Wejo TradersCommunity

From The TradersCommunity Research Desk 

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