Get in the KNOW
on LA Startups & TechX
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz/Bosch
Mercedes-Benz Offers a Glimpse Into a Future Where Your Car Parks Itself
03:00 PM | March 20, 2022
Sign up for dot.LA's daily newsletterfor the latest news on Southern California's tech, startup and venture capital scene.
Angelenos famously hate parking, but soon their cars may be able to park themselves thanks to a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz and German engineering firm Bosch.
At a demonstration in Downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, Mercedes and Bosch gave the first U.S. test run showcasing the fruits of their collaboration: an electric Mercedes-Benz 2022 EQS 580 luxury sedan capable of navigating itself into a parking spot.
Painted in bright teal stripes, the sedan first let its driver out at a designated spot. Then, a tap of a Mercedes-Benz phone app locked the vehicle and sent it, at a gradual pace, to the first available parking space. Later, a ping from the app woke up the car—which turned itself on, pulled out of the parking spot and slowly made its way to the driver’s pickup point.
Painted in bright teal stripes, an electric Mercedes-Benz 2022 EQS 580 pulls into a parking spot with no driver.Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz/Bosch
A Bosch engineer stepped in front of the car several times as it was driving to demonstrate its safety features; if sensors detect a presence or any motion in front of the car, they’ll tell it to stop a safe distance away. (For extra security, a person walked alongside the car with an emergency shut-off button.)
Kay Stepper, Bosch’s senior vice president of automated driving for North America, noted that the self-parking technology relies on sensors and cameras built into its surrounding environment, which guide the car into its space. (The sensors are installed on the ground, while the cameras are mounted above.) He added that the technology could be applied to any type of car, so long as a manufacturer makes it compatible with its vehicle.
“The unique thing is really that we are not using any of the in-vehicle sensors—it’s a purely infrastructure-based solution,” Stepper told dot.LA.
The demo marked the first time that Mercedes and Bosch have tested the technology outside of Germany. In their home country, the driverless parking capability is already installed and ready to use at Stuttgart Airport pending final regulatory approval, according to Philipp Skogstad, Mercedes’ president and CEO of North American research and development.
A handful of other auto industry names are also investing in automated valets, including the Volkswagen Group-owned CARIAD, which demonstrated its technology at an industry summit in Munich last. Yet another competitor is Maryland-based STEER. Other companies focused on autonomous technology from more of a road-driving perspective are Google’s Waymo and, of course, Tesla.
Skogstad acknowledged the increasingly crowded playing field. “Automated driving is such a complex task requiring so many pieces to come together that nobody can do that alone,” he said. “No matter how much money you have, you need partners.”
A Bosch engineer tests the self-parking car’s pick-up options.Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz/Bosch
Stepper noted that Bosch is “intensely” focused on finding collaborators in the “smart infrastructure” space who can help it implement a driverless parking network. The next step, he added, is to convince local parking operators to invest in the technology. Without human error (consider that driver in your apartment building’s garage who’s always double-parked), he estimated that a fully-automated parking lot could fit up to 20% more cars.
And what about the valet workers—such as those on hand at the demo, who were kind enough to park cars for the event’s attendees the old-fashioned way? A Bosch spokesperson noted that they wouldn’t exactly be put out of business, as self-parking garages would still need humans to operate and maintain their technology and act as a safeguard.
From Your Site Articles
- Autonomous Vehicle Companies Doubled Their Testing Miles - dot.LA ›
- Motional Expands Its Autonomous Vehicle Operations in LA - dot.LA ›
Related Articles Around the Web
Despite the massive downturn in funding due to the decline in technology stocks at the end of 2021 combined with concerns about rising inflation, it did not stop the startups on this list from raising funding. We asked more than 30 leading L.A.-based investors for their take on the hottest firms in the region. (We also asked VCs not to pick any of their own portfolio companies, and vetted the list to ensure they stuck to that rule.)
They selected a few live-shopping platforms, space startups and payment software companies and we've organized the list based on the amount of capital raised as of January, according to data from PitchBook.
Here are the eight L.A. startups VCs have their eyes on as they look ahead to 2023.
Anduril Industries Is Getting Hundreds of Millions to Build Border Surveillance Tech Image by Ian Hurley
Given how much the company has raised to date, it was no surprise that Costa Mesa-based defense technology startup and U.S. military contractor Anduril was the name that most often came up among L.A. venture investors.
Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, Founders Fund partner Trae Stephens, ex-Palantir executives Matt Grimm and Brian Schimpf founded Anduril in 2017. The startup is most known for its core software product, an operating system called Lattice, which is used to detect potential security threats.
To date, the startup has received investments from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and venture capitalist Elad Gil.
Earlier this year, the Glendale-based firm filed for an initial public offering. Since its founding in 2012, the company’s co-founders, Ara Mahdessian and Vahe Kuzoyan built its software for a wide range of service industries, from plumbing and landscaping to pest control and HVAC.
The company’s growth is largely driven by its ability to acquire other businesses, including landscaping software provider Aspire and pest control-focused platforms ServicePro and, earlier this month, FieldRoutes.
The Marina del Rey-based livestream shopping platform makes the ‘Hottest Startups’ list for a second year in a row. The online marketplace was founded by former GOAT product manager Logan Head and ex-Googler Grant LaFontaine and made its name by providing a live auction platform for buying and selling collectables like rare Pokémon cards, and has since expanded into sports memorabilia, sneakers and apparel.
It’s no secret that its success is in part, due to the partnerships Whatnot inked this year, like UFC fighter Jorge Masdival to sell sports collectibles on the platform. Along with science fiction/fantasy comics publisher Heavy Metal to bring out original content for the Whatnot community.
Los Angeles-based salon booking app Boulevard attracted backers including Santa Monica-based early-stage VC firm Bonfire Ventures, which focuses on B2B software startups. The startup builds booking and payment software for salons and spas and now it now serves 25,000 professionals across 2,000 salons. Boulevard has also worked with prominent brands such as Toni & Guy and HeyDay.
Space manufacturing startup Varda focuses on designing, developing, and manufacturing products that benefit from low gravity. The products that the El segundo-based company manufactures in space are intended to be brought back down with the hope that it will improve life on earth. The forward-thinking company was founded by Founders Fund partner Delian Asparouhov and former SpaceX officer Will Bruey.
Sherman Oaks-based Papaya was founded by Patrick Kann and Jason Metzler. The company was built to make it easier for consumers to pay “any” bills — whether it's a hospital bill or a parking ticket — all on the mobile app. To pay, users take a picture of their bill and type in the amount they want to send as long as the end user has a mailing address or an online payment portal. Papaya utilizes optical character recognition, a software that enables the app to look at every bill — no matter what the format is — and recognize each piece of information.
Based in El Segundo, Impulse Space creates orbital maneuvering vehicles capable of delivering multiple payloads to unique orbits from a single launch. Founded in 2021 by former SpaceX exec Tom Mueller built his company as a last-mile delivery partner for future inter-space missions, like servicing space stations. In July, the space startup inked a deal with Long Beach-based reusable rocket maker Relativity Space to accelerate the entry of its rover into Mars.
Whatnot competitor Popshop Live is betting that live-shopping is the future of ecommerce. The West Hollywood-based company primarily focuses on selling collectables such as trading cards and anime merchandise.
In the summer of 2021, the company bolstered its team by hiring former Instagram and Instacart executive Bangaly Kaba to lead platform growth and former head of Uber Eats Jason Droege to lead expansion.
From Your Site Articles
- Here Are the dot.LA/PitchBook 50 Hottest Los Angeles Startups for Q2 ›
- Here Are the LA Seed Startups Top VCs Wish They'd Invested In ›
- LA is the Third-Largest Startup Ecosystem in the US ›
- What Are LA’s Hottest Startups of 2022? See Who VCs Picked in dot.LA’s Annual Survey ›
- How To Startup: Part 1: Ideation ›
- What Are LA’s Hottest Startups of 2021? We Asked Top VCs to Rank Them ›
- Nobody Studios Plans to Build 100 Startups in Five Years - dot.LA ›
- From GameTree to Sota — Ukrainian Founders Call LA Home - dot.LA ›
Related Articles Around the Web
Read moreShow less
ecommercefinancefundinghealth and beautyraisesstartupsvc sentiment surveyventure capitalandurilservicetitanwhatnotboulevardvarda spacepapayaImpulse Spacepopshop live
Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.
03:49 PM | October 14, 2022
Thanks to a new bill passed on October 5, California drivers now have the choice to chuck their traditional metal license plates and replace them with digital ones.
The plates are referred to as “Rplate” and were developed by Sacramento-based Reviver. A news release on Reviver’s website that accompanied the bill’s passage states that there are “two device options enabling vehicle owners to connect their vehicle with a suite of services including in-app registration renewal, visual personalization, vehicle location services and security features such as easily reporting a vehicle as stolen.”
Reviver Auto Current and Future CapabilitiesFrom Youtube
There are wired (connected to and powered by a vehicle’s electrical system) and battery-powered options, and drivers can choose to pay for their plates monthly or annually. Four-year agreements for battery-powered plates begin at $19.95 a month or $215.40 yearly. Commercial vehicles will pay $275.40 each year for wired plates. A two-year agreement for wired plates costs $24.95 per month. Drivers can choose to install their plates, but on its website, Reviver offers professional installation for $150.
A pilot digital plate program was launched in 2018, and according to the Los Angeles Times, there were 175,000 participants. The new bill ensures all 27 million California drivers can elect to get a digital plate of their own.
California is the third state after Arizona and Michigan to offer digital plates to all drivers, while Texas currently only provides the digital option for commercial vehicles. In July 2022, Deseret News reported that Colorado might also offer the option. They have several advantages over the classic metal plates as well—as the L.A. Times notes, digital plates will streamline registration renewals and reduce time spent at the DMV. They also have light and dark modes, according to Reviver’s website. Thanks to an accompanying app, they act as additional vehicle security, alerting drivers to unexpected vehicle movements and providing a method to report stolen vehicles.
As part of the new digital plate program, Reviver touts its products’ connectivity, stating that in addition to Bluetooth capabilities, digital plates have “national 5G network connectivity and stability.” But don’t worry—the same plates purportedly protect owner privacy with cloud support and encrypted software updates.
5 Reasons to avoid the digital license plate | Ride TechFrom Youtube
After the Rplate pilot program was announced four years ago, some raised questions about just how good an idea digital plates might be. Reviver and others who support switching to digital emphasize personalization, efficient DMV operations and connectivity. However, a 2018 post published by Sophos’s Naked Security blog pointed out that “the plates could be as susceptible to hacking as other wireless and IoT technologies,” noting that everyday “objects – things like kettles, TVs, and baby monitors – are getting connected to the internet with elementary security flaws still in place.”
To that end, a May 2018 syndicated New York Times news service article about digital plates quoted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which warned that such a device could be a “‘honeypot of data,’ recording the drivers’ trips to the grocery store, or to a protest, or to an abortion clinic.”
For now, Rplates are another option in addition to old-fashioned metal, and many are likely to opt out due to cost alone. If you decide to go the digital route, however, it helps if you know what you could be getting yourself into.
From Your Site Articles
- 8 Alternatives to Uber and Lyft in California - dot.LA ›
- Automotus Will Monitor Santa Monica's New Drop-Off Zone - dot.LA ›
- Metropolis CEO Alex Israel on Parking's Future - dot.LA ›
Related Articles Around the Web
Read moreShow less
Steve Huff is an Editor and Reporter at dot.LA. Steve was previously managing editor for The Metaverse Post and before that deputy digital editor for Maxim magazine. He has written for Inside Hook, Observer and New York Mag. Steve is the author of two official tie-ins books for AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad” prequel, “Better Call Saul.” He’s also a classically-trained tenor and has performed with opera companies and orchestras all over the Eastern U.S. He lives in the greater Boston metro area with his wife, educator Dr. Dana Huff.
LA TECH JOBS