OpenAI-backed Ghost Autonomy shuts down

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Ghost Autonomy, a startup moving connected autonomous driving package for automaker partners, has unopen down, TechCrunch has learned.

The startup, which had raised astir $220 million, posted a statement connected its website that it ended worldwide operations and coiled down nan institution arsenic of Wednesday. The institution employed astir 100 group and had operations successful Mountain View, Dallas and Sydney.

“We are proud of nan important method innovations and advancement nan Ghost squad made connected its ngo to present software-defined user autonomy,” nan statement connected its website reads. “The way to semipermanent profitability was uncertain fixed nan existent backing ambiance and semipermanent finance required for autonomy improvement and commercialization. We are exploring imaginable semipermanent destinations for our team’s innovations.”

The shutdown comes conscionable 5 months since nan startup partnered pinch OpenAI done nan OpenAI Startup Fund to summation early entree to OpenAI systems and Azure resources from Microsoft. Ghost besides received a $5 cardinal finance from OpenAI. It astir precocious closed a $55 cardinal down information past year that included early investors Keith Rabois astatine Founders Fund and Mike Speiser astatine Sutter Hill Ventures.

At nan time, Ghost co-founder and CEO John Hayes touted nan company’s plans to explore nan applications of multimodal ample connection models (LLMs) — AI models that tin understand matter arsenic good arsenic images — successful self-driving.  He based on that LLMs offered a caller measurement to understand “the agelong tail,” adding reasoning to analyzable scenes wherever existent models autumn short. Experts were skeptical of nan approach.

Like truthful galore startups trying to commercialize autonomous conveyance technology, Ghost has shifted its attack complete nan years. The startup, primitively called Ghost Locomotion, was founded successful 2017. The institution made its nationalist debut 2 years later pinch $63.7 cardinal successful full finance from Rabois of Founders Fund, Vinod Khosla astatine Khosla Ventures and Speiser astatine Sutter Hill Ventures, among others, and a scheme to create a kit that will let privately owned rider vehicles to thrust autonomously connected highways. The institution said it would present that tech successful 2020.

After that deadline came and went, Ghost raised different $100 million in 2021 pinch an altered scheme to attraction connected clang prevention tech. The Series D backing information was led by Sutter Hill Ventures and nan inclusion of Founders Fund and Coatue. Hayes told TechCrunch backmost successful 2021 that nan startup hadn’t wholly closed nan doorway connected nan user kit model, but had turned its attraction to cosmopolitan collision avoidance exertion successful an effort to get to marketplace faster.

His premise was that an autonomous driving strategy didn’t request to admit and categorize objects anterior to avoiding them. The institution was alternatively search nan activity of clusters of pixels successful a scene. Most different autonomous systems statesman by identifying an entity and past usage image localization to find its size, region and different applicable features. That strategy is utilized because different objects — moreover those of nan aforesaid size — tin behave differently.

Hayes, who was reached Wednesday via email, said nan institution had completed a road driving merchandise and were moving successful municipality environments done what he described arsenic “long-mile delivery.”

“Ultimately, nan years required to bring nan merchandise to marketplace could not beryllium financed,” he wrote.