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Courtesy of Drive.ai

Drive.ai, a self-driving car startup founded by former Stanford artificial intelligence researchers, has raised $50 million in Series B funding.

A.I. celeb: The company is also adding Andrew Ng, one of the best known deep learning experts in the world, to its board of directors. Ng founded the Google Brain division, online education company Coursera, and most recently worked at Chinese Internet giant Baidu as its chief scientist. Ng is married to Drive.ai co-founder and president Carol Reiley.

Approach: Drive.ai is banking on the application of deep learning—a subset of artificial intelligence—to all parts of autonomous driving software. Instead of simply teaching the car's software sets of "if/then" rules, the company is using techniques to teach it how to recognize objects, what's right and what's wrong, what's safe, and so on.

Drive.ai is developing self-driving car kits that can be retrofitted to vehicles, and plans to make them available to business customers (ride-hailing services, etc.). It's currently working with sensors that include LiDAR, radar, and cameras, though the company says it wants its software to be flexible and work with what combinator of sensors its partners prefer. (Check out Axios' dive into the debate over LiDAR and self-driving cars here and here.)

Funding: New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led this latest funding round, with GGV Capital and existing investors like Northern Light Venture Capital also participating. Along with Ng, NEA's Carmen Chang is also joining Drive.ai's board as well as GGV's Jenny Lee as an observer.

Go deeper

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters rallied outside fortified statehouses over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.