Data mining company Palantir invested $25 million in Faraday Future shortly before the electric vehicle startup became a publicly traded company in July, according to a previously unreported Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document submitted late last week.
In addition, Faraday Future signed a commercial contract to use Palantir’s software, according to one of Palantirs most recent SEC filings. Neither company has disclosed how much Faraday Future will pay, although Palantir’s filing indicates the contract will last between four and six years. Representatives from both companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Palantir says its software is intended as a “central operating system” for companies that need to sift through a lot of data. His clients have included the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, which used Palantir software to track immigrants during the Trump administration, as well as law enforcement agencies across the country, which have used Palantir’s controversial predictive police software.
Palantir’s investment was part of the so-called Private Investment in Public Equity (PIPE) portion of the merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) that Faraday Future made public. PIPEs are essentially a fundraising round that happens concurrently with many SPAC mergers. Faraday Future raised a total of about $795 million in its PIPE, including other investors such as Geely, China’s largest privately-owned car maker.
Palantir’s participation in the PIPE is just the latest in a series of investments the company has made in startups that are (or were) in the process of merging with SPACs. In some of those cases, Palantir has followed up on his investment with a deal to sell his software services to the company in question, such as was first reported in July by journalist Eric Newcomer. (One robotics startup, Newcomer reports, is paying Palantir $42 million to run its software, after a $21 million investment from the data mining company.)
Faraday Future’s electric vehicles are going to create an incredible amount of data – at least once they’re built. The company’s first vehicle, the FF 91 SUV, was not scheduled to enter production until July 2022 and has been delayed for years as the company struggled. But if it does exist, the electric SUV will be littered with sensors and cameras intended to power an advanced driver assistance system in the near term, and one day (maybe) something closer to full autonomy.
The inside of the FF 91 will be even more of a data generation machine. There are cameras on any seat that can perform facial recognition, which will be used to quickly retrieve a variety of driver and passenger preferences, such as their personalized app and media libraries, preferred seating positions and climate settings, and more.