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The Future of Autonomous Vehicles: 15 San Francisco Startups You Need to Know About

San Francisco, California is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world. The city has long been a hub for the tech industry, and today, it’s at the forefront of the autonomous vehicle (AV) revolution. From self-driving trucks to lidar sensors and perception systems, these startups are transforming the transportation industry as we know it.


Building the Future of Lidar Sensors Ouster is a company that designs and builds high-resolution digital lidar sensors for industrial automation, robotics, smart infrastructure, and automotive applications. The sensors provide an accurate and real-time view of the environment, allowing autonomous vehicles to navigate safely and efficiently. Founded by Angus Pacala and Mark Frichtl, Ouster is rapidly becoming one of the most sought-after AV sensor manufacturers in the world.

Built Robotics

Transforming Excavators into Autonomous Trenching Robots Built Robotics is on a mission to transform the $1 trillion earthmoving industry by building fully autonomous trenching robots. The company’s innovative technology allows excavators to operate without human intervention, reducing labor costs, increasing productivity, and improving safety on job sites. Founded by Andrew Liang and Noah Ready-Campbell, Built Robotics is a game-changer for the construction industry.


Improving Safety with Mobile Sensor Data Zendrive is a startup that leverages mobile sensor data to provide insights that improve safety for passengers and drivers worldwide. The company’s technology analyzes driving behavior to identify risks, improve driver performance, and reduce accidents. Founded by Jonathan Matus and Pankaj Risbood, Zendrive is making the roads safer for everyone.

Swift Navigation

Providing Precise Positioning Solutions for ADAS Swift Navigation is a technology company that provides precise positioning solutions for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). The company’s hardware and software products allow vehicles to navigate with centimeter-level accuracy, improving safety and efficiency. Founded by Colin Beighley, Fergus Noble, and Timothy Harris, Swift Navigation is poised to revolutionize the ADAS industry.


Enabling the Future of Mobility Ridecell provides car-sharing, ride-sharing, short-term leases, and autonomous vehicle fleet services for car rental companies. The company’s technology enables mobility providers to optimize their fleets, reduce costs, and increase revenue. Founded by Aarjav Trivedi, ArunKumar Elangovan, and Chris Wilkins, Ridecell is helping to shape the future of transportation.


Building Safe and Reliable Self-Driving Vehicles Cruise is a startup that builds self-driving vehicles that safely connect people to places, things, and experiences they care about. The company’s technology is designed to be safe, reliable, and scalable, and is being tested on the streets of San Francisco. Founded by Daniel Kan and Kyle Vogt, Cruise is one of the most well-known AV startups in the world.

Parallel Domain

Training and Testing Perception Systems with Synthetic Data Parallel Domain is a startup that provides a synthetic data platform for training and testing perception systems. The company’s technology enables developers to create realistic 3D environments to test AV algorithms, reducing the need for expensive and time-consuming real-world testing. Founded by Kevin McNamara, Parallel Domain is changing the way AV developers build and test their systems.

Bossa Nova Robotics

Providing Real-Time Product Data for Retailers Bossa Nova Robotics is a startup that provides real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry. The company’s technology uses computer vision and machine learning to detect and track products, allowing retailers to optimize their inventory and improve the customer experience. Founded by David Palmer, Martin Hitch, and Sarjoun Skaff, Bossa Nova Robotics is transforming the way retailers manage their stores

of their industry, and they use this to provide precise positioning solutions for advanced driver-assistance systems in vehicles.


Ridecell provides a range of services for car rental companies, including car-sharing, ride-sharing, short-term leases, and autonomous vehicle fleet services. Their platform helps car rental companies improve their operational efficiency and enhance the overall customer experience.


Cruise is building self-driving vehicles that are designed to safely transport people to places they want to go. The company has a strong focus on artificial intelligence and robotics, and they are working to develop new technologies that will help make self-driving vehicles more accessible to people around the world.

Parallel Domain

Parallel Domain is a synthetic data platform that is used for training and testing perception systems. Their technology enables developers to create and train virtual environments that can be used to simulate real-world scenarios, which is an essential tool for developing and testing autonomous vehicle technology.

Bossa Nova Robotics

Bossa Nova Robotics provides real-time, on-shelf product data for the global retail industry. Their technology enables retailers to track inventory levels, identify product trends, and optimize their supply chains, which can help improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Civil Maps

Civil Maps provides a sensor-agnostic cognition platform that enables city-scale HD 3D mapping, edge mapping, and localization. Their technology is used to develop high-precision maps that can be used for autonomous vehicle navigation, as well as other applications.


CARVI offers a vision-based advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that is based on driver behaviors and 3D road data. Their technology is designed to help reduce accidents and improve driver safety, and it is used in a variety of applications, including fleet management, insurtech, mapping services, and ride-sharing.


Veniam is advancing mobility’s future by enabling the Internet of Moving Things. Their technology is used to create a wireless mesh network that connects vehicles, infrastructure, and people, which can help improve safety, reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the overall driving experience.


Bestmile is a fleet orchestration platform that is used by mobility providers to deploy, manage, and optimize autonomous vehicle and human-driven vehicle fleets. Their technology is designed to help improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, and it is used in a variety of applications, including transportation, SaaS, and cloud computing.

Point One Navigation

Point One Navigation is building a centimeter-accurate localization service for the future of transportation. Their technology is used to provide precise positioning information that can be used in a variety of applications, including autonomous vehicle navigation and industrial automation.


Ike is a self-driving truck startup that is focused on building automation technology to help improve the trucking industry. Their technology is designed to help reduce costs and improve safety, and it is used in a variety of applications, including transportation and logistics.


GridMatrix is equipping cities with AI-powered software for intelligent traffic congestion, accident, and emissions reduction. Their technology is used to help improve traffic flow, reduce accidents, and enhance the overall driving experience.

These companies are just a small sample of the many exciting autonomous vehicle startups that are currently based in San Francisco. As this industry continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even more innovative companies emerge, each with their own unique approach to developing the technology that will power the future of transportation.

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