Plus AI Open Auto Platform

By Patrick Moorhead - February 20, 2024

The Six Five team discusses Plus AI Open Auto Platform.

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Transcript:

Patrick Moorhead: And guess what, we’re going to talk more AI. Dan, it’s just all about AI at this point, isn’t it? So Plus is a platform provider, hardware and software for autonomous driving. You’re like, “Well, wait a second, we never quite heard of them before.” Well, that’s one of the reasons we’re bringing this to light. They are actually the market leader in autonomous trucking. Now, their software is very applicable to passenger cars as well. You would think… How many tons is a big truck, Dan, fully loaded–

Daniel Newman: I should know this. I don’t know this, though.

Patrick Moorhead: Anyways, it’s tens of tons, likely, probably more, because a car is only two tons. But anyways, it is, in many ways, if you can get it right for trucking, it seems like you could get it right for passenger vehicles. They cut deals, big deals with big trucking companies of Echo, retailers and things like that. But anyways, the big announcement that they had is they are going to now sell their software in modules. So they are splitting up the bundle. So if you are a tier one or an automaker and you just want, let’s say, AV functional module, or an off-board module, or a vehicle integration module, you can grab those. And then what you do, right, you connect the sensors, the actuation, computing platform, then you can integrate that all together, if you’re an OEM.

I view this move as very customer-centric. I’m very interested to see, like right now they’re on the NVIDIA computing platform. I think they will have to move in the direction where they’re compatible with Qualcomm. They’re compatible with Intel. And by the way, check out Intel just threw their hat back in the ring, not to be confused with Mobileye. Read the white paper on our website if you want more on that. And obviously, AMD has aspirations as well. And by the way, Intel would be an interesting partner, because if you remember our interview with Jack Wiest, he talked about wanting to collaborate with other ADAS software suppliers. It almost seems like a perfect combination. So there were no customers listed in the press release. I had the chance to talk with Plus CEO, David Liu, on it, and I’m going to be doing a write-up shortly, but I love it, man. Customer centricity, baby. “You want modules? We will give you modules.”

Daniel Newman: Yeah, I mean, Pat, look, you and I have both been pretty bullish on the Snapdragon platform for auto. And the reason was really the digital chassis has been all about kind of building blocks. So the original thesis of Plus was a little bit more of these kinds of complete systems, turnkey. It was really twofold. It was either kind of the augmented vehicle of “truck of today” or it was this net new future vehicle, but it was going to be ground-up built on their platform. Now they’re basically saying, “Look, we’ve got building blocks that you can put into use, and we’re going to license and sell.”

And I didn’t have the conversation you had, so I’m working off the press release. But the bottom line is I think they needed to open this up to create a bigger tamp. It’s more market. It’s an opportunity to diversify who they sell to, and take the IP that they’ve been working to build, and make it available to a broader set of customers. They’ve been out there for a while now. You and I have actually ridden in these trucks. We’ve experienced the Plus truck in San Jose. We actually drove around. And so we know what they’re doing. We know that they’re innovating. But I think the modularity gives them more flexibility in their go-to market. And I think right now that’s what they need.

For me, it’s early to see, Pat, to your point, I’d like to hear more about wins. I’d like to hear more about who’s buying this and what sort of drove this. But it’s early days. So this one’s a light one for me. I don’t have a lot to add here, Pat, but I do like to see the company continue to grow and scale. I’ve enjoyed the interactions we’ve had with David. I look forward to reading your write up.

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.