Verizon’s (VZ) capital intensive drive to diversify into faster growth markets continues to gain momentum. According to the Wall Street Journal, the telecom giant has just splashed out $10 million on Renovo Auto, the autonomous vehicle startup that shot to fame after converting a vintage DeLorean into a self-driving car.

Based in California and founded in 2010, Renovo builds technology that brings together self-driving software, data analytics and safety systems. The company’s hundreds of sensors can reportedly generate multiple terabytes of data every hour, even in the most difficult of environments.


The acquisition of Renovo marks the latest of several that Verizon has made in telematics, a rapidly growing sector dedicated to making driverless cars more efficient and roadworthy. In order to make autonomous vehicles a mainstream reality sophisticated internet is required, which is an area where Verizon has already emerged as a market leader.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a typical autonomous vehicle generates 4 terabytes of data in 90 minutes, the equivalent of 3,000 people's internet usage over the course of three years.

Last year, Verizon strengthened its in-vehicle software and applications muscle by acquiring Ireland-based GPS vehicle trucking specialist Fleetmatics and cloud-based software firm Telogis. After completing the deals, research company C.J. Driscoll & Associates claimed that Verizon had become a world leader in the telematics market, controlling about a quarter of it. (See also: Verizon to Buy Fleetmatics.) 



Verizon, the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, partnered with Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz back in 2009 to create in-vehicle telecom systems. The company also launched an app called Hum, which enables Bluetooth connected drivers to receive vehicle diagnostics and location-based services. (See also: Is Verizon a Great Stock for Value Investors?)

Aside from telematics, Verizon is keen to bolster its presence in advertising markets. The company’s acquisitions of AOL and Yahoo (YHOO) are expected to help it steal some market share away from Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB), the dominant players in the mushrooming digital advertising space. (See also: Facebook, Google Dominate as Mobile Ad Spending Hits Record High.)

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