According to a previously unreported Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document released late last week, data-mining business Palantir invested $25 million in Faraday Future soon before the electric vehicle startup became a publicly traded corporation in July.
According to one of Palantir’s most recent SEC filings, Faraday Future also inked a commercial contract to use Palantir’s software. Neither business mentioned the amount Faraday Future is paying, however, the deal will run between four and six years, according to Palantir’s filing. Both companies’ representatives did not reply to demands for comment right away.
Palantir’s software is designed to act as a “central operating system” for businesses that must filter through large amounts of data, according to the company. During the Trump administration, the US Customs and Border Protection agency employed Palantir software to track immigrants, and police agencies across the country have used Palantir’s controversial predictive policing software.
Palantir’s investment was part of the so-called Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) phase of Faraday Future’s public offering, which included a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). PIPEs are a type of financing that occurs in conjunction with many SPAC mergers. Faraday Future’s PIPE raised $795 million in total, with other investors such as Geely, China’s largest private automaker, participating.
Palantir’s investment in the PIPE is the latest in a string of investments in startups that are (or were) in the process of merging with SPACs. Palantir has followed up its investment in some of these cases with a deal to sell its software services to the corporation in issue, as writer Eric Newcomer first reported in July. (Newcomer says that a robotics business is paying Palantir $42 million to utilize its software, following the data-mining firm’s $21 million investment.)
The electric vehicles developed by Faraday Future will generate a massive amount of data – at least after they’re produced. The FF 91 SUV, the company’s first car, isn’t expected to enter production until at least July 2022, and has been delayed for years due to the company’s struggles. However, once it is built, the electric SUV will be dotted with sensors and cameras that will power a near-term advanced driver assistance system and, eventually, something closer to complete autonomy.
The FF 91 will be even more of a data-generation machine on the inside. Every seat has a camera that can conduct facial recognition, which will be used to swiftly access all of the preferences that drivers and passengers have, such as their tailored app and media libraries, preferred seating positions and climate settings, and more.