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Fernride, a German company developing autonomous, electric yard trucks, raised $31 million in Series A funding. The company hopes to use the funding to scale its operations with new and existing customers globally and boost the technological development of its approach to human-assisted autonomy.
According to Fernride, there’s a current shortage of 400,000 truck drivers in Europe alone. That shortage is projected to increase to 2,000,000 truck drivers by 2026.
Fernride’s end-to-end system has integrated its autonomous yard trucks into the production operations of Volkswagen, DB Schenker, BSH, and HHLA over the past 12 months. Fernride said its system can be tailored to customers’ specific needs, including automation hardware and software, training and certification, and personnel support. The company said its autonomous yard trucks are used in ports and terminals, production facilities, distribution centers and more.
“Our customers benefit from our human-assisted approach to autonomy from the very start of our collaboration,” said Fernride co-founder and CEO Hendrik Kramer. “Our current customers operate more than 1,000 yard trucks in Europe alone – it is crucial to offer an easily scalable solution. With Fernride, we can do just that, as our human-assisted approach works right away, solves all the possible edge cases, and delivers the reliability that the industry needs.”
Fernride’s Series A funding comes from capital venture firms 10x Founders, Promus Ventures, Fly Ventures, Speedinvest, and Push Ventures. It also has corporate investors that include HHLA Next, DB Schenker via Schenker Ventures, and Krone.
“As we are deeply transforming how the logistics industry is operating, it is crucial to partner with some of the industry’s leading players. The strategic investments included in our Series A will help accelerate this transformation,” Kramer said.
Fernride spun out of The Technical University of Munich’s (TUM) Automotive Engineering department in 2019, initially under the name Pylot. It was founded by Kramer, Max Fisser and Jean-Michael Georg. It announced its Seed Round in 2020, which totaled about $7.7 million.