Listen to this article
Inceptio Technology, a China-based developer of autonomous trucking technology, raised a $270 million Series B round of funding. Inceptio said the funding will allow it to accelerate the development of its full-stack autonomous driving system called “Xuanyuan” and speed up its deployment in electrification.
Inceptio, which was founded in 2018, has raised approximately $490 million to date. It raised a $100 million Series A round in April 2020, followed by an additional $100 million in November 2020. The Series B round was led by JD Logistics, Meituan, and PAG. Deppon Express. IDG Capital, CMB International, SDIC, Mirae Asset, Eight Roads, and Broad Vision Funds also participated in the investment, as well as existing shareholders GLP Hidden Hill Capital, CATL, NIO Capital and Eastern Bell Capital.
Inceptio is currently deploying its technology on Level 3 autonomous heavy-duty trucks. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International recently announced changes to the details of its six-level classification of autonomous driving capability. Level 3 vehicles can detect their environments and make some decisions, but a human driver is still required.
The autonomous driving freight network built by Inceptio Technology has been embraced by a number of top-tier shippers and fleets in China. Inceptio received China’s first A-sample validation for Level 3 autonomous trucks. It obtained the A-sample approval with Dongfeng Commercial Vehicle Co. The validation “is a key milestone of productization in China’s autonomous driving industry and marks a solid step taken by Inceptio in volume production of L3 autonomous trucks,” said Inceptio.
Inceptio has previously said it expects to begin production of autonomous trucks by the end of 2021. Following its end-to-end business model, the company plans to begin operating a trucking network using its proprietary technology in 2022.
At least three autonomous trucking companies are taking their technology public. Plus said in May 2021 that it is going public via a $3.3 billion SPAC with the Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. Embark Trucks is also going public via SPAC, in a $5.2 billion deal with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. that is expected to close in the second half of 2021.
TuSimple made its debut in March 2021 in a $1.35 billion IPO on the Nasdaq stock market. Plus and TuSimple also have strong ties to China, but Embark said it is focused on the U.S.