Verizon thinks it can be a serious player in self-driving cars

It's backing Renovo to help connect whole fleets of autonomous vehicles.

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Verizon has long had a strong interest in connected cars, and it's no surprise as to why: it stands to make a lot of money if your ride is constantly transmitting drive data or streaming music. It would only make sense that the telecom wants in on self-driving cars, then. To that end, Verizon's venture wing has invested in Renovo, an automotive startup that has lately turned its attention to creating a platform that would help manage a whole fleet of autonomous vehicles. Renovo wouldn't be taking Tesla head-on with this tech -- it would be focused more on ridesharing and other services where driverless cars would need to work in harmony.

The carrier hasn't said how much it's investing in Renovo, although it's part of a larger $10 million funding round. This is less a huge bet and more about getting a foot in the door. Even so, it's a potentially significant move. If Verizon can help get this technology off the ground, it's creating a customer base for itself -- those thousands of connected cars will need someone to bring them online. That, in turn, will help Verizon remain involved in transportation even if its current efforts grow obsolete.