8 Self-Driving Car Companies Based in San Francisco

Written by Anthony Corbo
Published on Nov. 20, 2023
8 Self-Driving Car Companies Based in San Francisco

One of the greatest capabilities of artificial intelligence is its ability to automate some of our most frustrating activities, and for many living in the world’s most congested areas, one of the largest daily burdens is driving. With traffic growing and overcrowding rampant globally, it's not hard to imagine why.

The companies listed below have turned this burden into a passion, working to create a web of connected systems and vehicles that can solidify our autonomous future as a reality. Startups creating navigational tools for vehicles to analyze in real time and companies testing how to make self-driving cars safer and environmentally stable are paving the way towards a self-driving future in San Francisco and worldwide.

Top Self-Driving Car Companies in the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Cruise
  • Embark
  • AutoX.ai
  • Nuro
  • Zoox
  • RideCell


Cruise self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2013

Acquired by: General Motors

What they do: Cruise vehicles are manufactured at a GM plant using cutting-edge hardware and software to discover how self-driving cars can solve San Francisco’s greatest driving challenges. Cruise vehicles are designed to emit zero pollutants and reduce the number of traffic collisions, predicted to save millions of lives on a global scale.

Notable achievements: Cruise’s highly realistic environments allow engineers to develop solutions faster and troubleshoot vehicular issues before they see the road.


Zoox self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2014

What they do: Zoox’s self-driving vehicles are designed to operate autonomously in complex environments, like cities and on highways. The scanners used in all Zoox vehicles are complex enough to make legal turns on red lights, yield to pedestrians and pass double-parked cars, applying the latest technology to reach a goal of producing a zero-emission vehicle that performs in high-traffic areas.

Notable achievements: Zoox began targeting Las Vegas as the next target market for its autonomous fleet, serving as an anchor market for testing and validating developments.


Nuro self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2016

What they do: Nuro brings self-driving technology to a local level with an on-road vehicle designed to handle the small errands that cut into our daily free time. Designed to transport local goods like groceries and dry cleaning, and featuring a flexible interior and safety features that prioritize those outside rather than what's inside, Nuro’s vehicle is setting the standard for safe, autonomous tech that can impact on a consumer level.

Notable achievements: Nuro launched the world’s first self-driving delivery service in 2018.


Embark self-driving car companies San Francisco

Founded: 2016

What they do: Embark is tackling the challenges of delivering freight, like the dangers associated with lengthy shifts and multi-day voyages for operators, by preparing a fleet of entirely autonomous trucks that operate on AI groundbreaking technology. The Embark team is pioneered by engineers from manufacturers like Tesla, Google, Audi and NASA, and the self-driving semis are advanced enough to operate in fog, rain and other real-world trucking conditions.

Notable achievements: Embark’s trucks are already in use by five Fortune 500 companies in the Southwest US.


Ridecell self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2009

What they do: RideCell’s Auro division creates multiple models of self-driving vehicles designed to operate within geofenced zones and campuses. Perfect for corporate parks, college campuses, residential communities and retirement communities, Auro vehicles are restricted to 35 mph and feature full-stack L4 self-driving software, 3D-map based navigation, shared access to vehicle data and access to RideCell’s mobility platform to manage carsharing, ridesharing and fleet ops.

Notable achievements: RideCell solutions are in use by companies like University of Southern California, 3M, Renault and more.


Autox.ai self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2016

Acquired by: Tesla

What they do: AutoX.ai uses a camera-first, multi-sensor system to enable huge advances in self-driving vehicles. The company manufactures prototypes and models that aim to conquer the challenges that plague AI in congested, urban areas, laying the groundwork for autonomous delivery and taxi services.

Notable achievements: The xUrban system is the world’s first AI system to successfully navigate driving scenarios in China’s crowded metropolitan areas.


DeepScale self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2015

Acquired by: Tesla

What they do: DeepScale’s machine learning capabilities are built to squeeze AI systems for maximum efficiency through minimal use of resources. The company’s Carver21 system allows builders of self-driving vehicles to integrate DeepScale’s AI into their vehicles to scale perception needs for safety measures, automated highway driving, NCAP and more.

Notable achievements: Enabling differentiated solutions amongst companies using Carver21


Pony.ai self-driving car companies San Francisco Bay Area

Founded: 2016

What they do: Utilizing the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence paired with prioritizing safety above all else, Pony.ai’s vehicles are built with the purpose of affecting lives on a global scale. The company rolled out its first autonomous testing vehicles in 2017 and is in the process of developing a fleet of self-driving trucks, known as the PonyPilot program.

Notable achievements: In 2019, Pony.ai released an on-demand, self-driving taxi service with Hyundai in California.


Photos via Shutterstock and social media. This article was originally published in 2019.

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