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Tesla and Toyota are both the smartest and the most connected companies

TechCrunch TechCrunch 28/06/2016 Kristen Hall-Geisler

Visiongain, an analysis firm based in the UK, released a report this month listing the top 20 connected car companies, which includes all the usual suspects, such as Volvo, Ford, and Honda. Tesla and Toyota were also among the top 10 automotive manufacturers in the connected car market, which Visiongain projects to be worth $35.7 billion in 2016 alone.

Toyota and Tesla also made the MIT Technology Review list of the 50 Smartest Companies in 2016, the only two automotive manufacturers to make the cut. Tesla landed at number 4 on that list for advancing its autopilot technology in the Model S and Model X, and for generating nearly half a million pre-orders for its Model 3. Toyota, at number 17, was noted for investing $1 billion in its Toyota Research Institute.

But those aren’t the only automotive companies to make the top 10 on MIT’s list. Mobileye is at number 6 for being “a leader in driver assistance technology” and the fact that 600 of its employees are annotating the images that are used in training a fully autonomous driving system. Google’s Alphabet is at number 8, and the list cites the autonomous car project’s 1.6 billion miles as a factor in the top-ten ranking.

The rest of the list also includes companies expanding into this new and wide-open automotive space. Nvidia, which supplies powerful graphics processing chips to manufacturers for autonomous driving, is at number 12. Number 21 Didi Chuxing is a Chinese rival for Uber that’s raised $7 billon so far in 2016, including $1 million from Apple. Funny enough, number 23 is a spinoff company from A123 Systems, 24M. It’s working to create a more efficient—and cheaper—lithium-ion battery for both the electric grid and electric vehicles. Improbable creates VR software used in autonomous driving simulations.

Others on the list, like Microsoft and Bosch, have a hand in advanced automotive systems as well. Driving—or autonomous driving, or being driven by a ride-sharing driver—is going to cause a sea change in American culture. These two lists point to the companies that are preparing for this change rather than cringing in the face of it.

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