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This startup developing autonomous yard trucks with robotic arms grabs  $73M

Photo Credit: Outrider

The hype machine may no longer be driven by autonomous vehicle technology. However, companies using the technology for commercial, logistical, and agricultural applications continue to draw venture capital.

Outrider, a company based in Golden, Colorado, developing self-driving electric yard trucks has raised $73M funding led by FM Capital. A wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and NVentures, the venture capital division of NVIDIA, are among the new investors. Existing investors Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and New Enterprise Associates are involved in the round. Outrider has raised $191M in funding to date.

ADIA and NVentures are joined by B37 Ventures, Lineage Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Lineage Logistics, Presidio Ventures, the venture capital arm of Sumitomo Corporation, and ROBO Global Ventures as new investors in the Series C financing. Additionally, Henrik Christensen, a Qualcomm Chair of Robotics at UC San Diego and a founding member of ROBO Global’s Advisory Board, has joined the business as a board advisor.

Outrider intends to use the funds to expand its proprietary autonomy and safety technology portfolio, hire more people both domestically and internationally, and scale its yard automation solution with large customers in the package shipping, retail, eCommerce, consumer packaged goods, grocery, manufacturing, and intermodal industries. Since 2019, Outrider’s customers, who account for more than 20% of all yard trucks in North America, have invested in joint product testing and pilot operations.

Autonomous system

Outrider has created an autonomous system that includes an electric yard truck, management software, and site infrastructure. While humans may be required at the distribution yard, the autonomous system handles the majority of the work, including trailer hitching and unhitching, connecting and disconnecting trailer brake lines, and monitoring trailer locations.

The technology provided by Outrider aids its clients in achieving their sustainability objectives. Outrider automates electric vehicles rather than ageing diesel ones in order to consume less fossil fuel, spend less on energy and maintenance, and produce fewer emissions. In order to maximise the advantages of automation and electrification for customers and the communities surrounding significant logistics hubs, Outrider will work with EV yard truck manufacturers more quickly as a result of its Series C financing.

“Outrider has consistently delivered breakthrough technology to automate one of the most inefficient links in the supply chain – the distribution yard,” said Andrew Smith, CEO and Founder of Outrider. “Our customers will move massive quantities of freight more efficiently, safely, and sustainably using Outrider’s technology. We are thrilled to have an outstanding network of investors who share our vision to set a new standard for the global logistics industry.”

“Outrider has addressed all the pieces –  technology, safety, operations, and support – needed to deploy a reliable, industrial-grade system at scale. The company is a case study in bringing advanced robotics and autonomy technology to market,” said Mark Norman, Managing Partner of FM Capital. “Outrider has a world-class team to scale their solution and FM Capital is excited to invest and join the company’s Board of Directors.”

“Our confidence in Outrider is based on its technical and commercial leadership in yard automation for fully autonomous vehicles to integrate fluidly into real-world customer operations,” said Mohamed “Sid” Siddeek, Head of NVentures, NVIDIA. “The fundamental processing pipeline for autonomous vehicles can be applied to all kinds of autonomous and robotics systems, a key area of focus for NVIDIA.”

Outrider has performed tens of thousands of fully autonomous trailer moves at customer locations and Outrider’s Advanced Testing Facility since announcing its Series B financing in 2020. In addition, Outrider has released technology, opened a first-in-industry test site specifically for yard automation, and built up a sizable intellectual property portfolio.

Founded in 2017 by Andrew Smith, Outrider is a software development company that provides management software, self-driving cars, and site infrastructure systems.

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