Self-Driving Company Ceases Operations

It’s the end of the road for self-driving tech company Ghost Autonomy

Graham Hope

April 5, 2024

2 Min Read
A Ghost Autonomy self-driving vehicle on a road
Ghost Autonomy

Another autonomous driving tech company has ceased operations.

Ghost Autonomy confirmed the bad news with a brief post on its website.

It read: “Ghost Autonomy has shut down worldwide operations and wound down the company as of April 3, 2024. We are proud of the substantial technical innovations and progress the Ghost team made on its mission to deliver software-defined consumer autonomy.”

The reasoning behind the dramatic move echoed similar sentiments from other autonomous driving companies that have fallen by the wayside over the past 18 months.

“The path to long-term profitability was uncertain given the current funding climate and long-term investment required for autonomy development and commercialization,” the post continued.

“We are exploring potential long-term destinations for our team’s innovations.”

As well as its base in Mountain View, California, the company had operations in Dallas, Texas and Sydney, Australia, and employed around 100 people.

The cessation of business is a far cry from the heady days of December 2022, when the company announced it had received a permit to test on the highways of California, and was making bullish noises about its future.

Ghost made a big deal about the fact that it was aiming to deliver technology for consumer cars that would be bought by regular customers. At the time, Jacqueline Glassman, general counsel at Ghost, explained: “Unlike robotaxi or delivery services, Ghost makes autonomous driving for cars that people own and drive to work every day. Delivered as software, Ghost is uniquely designed for the mass market, partnering with automakers to bring autonomous driving to the mainstream.”

Related:Low-Cost Self-Driving Pioneer Awarded Testing Permit

The company was also keen to point out that its approach differed from those of other developers, with a heavy focus on what it termed Universal AI.Rather than using image localization to identify potential obstacles to ensure an AV avoids them, which is the route many rival companies have taken, Ghost was more focused on tracking clusters of pixels in a scenario ahead – in simple terms, it didn’t matter what an obstacle was, just that it was an obstacle. 

The idea was that this would make training simpler, and the technology ultimately more affordable.

In reality, though, despite raising around $220 million since its founding in 2017 – including investment from OpenAI to bring multi-modal large language models to autonomous driving late last year – it was to find the road to commercialization financially prohibitive.

And with the company consigned to history, it signed off by thanking the “employees, investors and partners who helped bring the vision of Ghost to life.”

Related:Self-Driving Truck Company Closing Its Doors

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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