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Kodiak Robotics raised $125 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. The Mountain View, Calif.-based autonomous truck developer has raised a total of $165 million since it was founded in 2018. Kodiak last raised funding in 2018 when it closed a $40 million Series A.
The Series B round included investments from SIP Global Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, CRV, Muirwoods Ventures, Harpoon Ventures, StepStone Group, Gopher Asset Management, Walleye Capital, Aliya Capital Partners, and others.
Kodiak said it will use the new funding to double its headcount over the next year by adding at least 85 new people to the team. The funding will also help expand autonomous service capabilities from coast-to-coast, and add a minimum of 15 new trucks, for a total of at least 25 autonomous vehicles.
“Our Series B drives us into hyper-growth so we can double our team, our fleet, and continue to scale our business,” said Don Burnette, founder and CEO, Kodiak Robotics. “… The supply chain challenges we have seen over the last 18 months only underscore the importance of autonomous trucking to the future of America’s economy. With the Series B, we will further accelerate towards launching our commercial self-driving service with our partners in the coming years to help address these critical challenges.”
Kodiak’s autonomous driving system is purpose-built for long-haul trucking. The fourth-generation truck has a modular sensor suite that includes a center pod on the truck’s front roofline and pods integrated into both side mirrors. Kodiak’s autonomous trucks handle the on-highway driving, while a human driver handles getting on and off the highway and driving to the final destination.
Kodiak said it is delivering freight daily for customers between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, operating autonomously on the highway portion of the route. In January 2021, Kodiak released footage of 1000-plus miles of disengage-free driving on its I-45 route.
Momentum picks up for autonomous trucking
Kodiak’s funding is the latest financial move for autonomous truck developers. TuSimple went public in April 2021 with a traditional IPO at $40 per share. On November 4, 2021, Aurora Innovation debuted on the Nasdaq via its merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y (RTPY), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga founder Mark Pincus.
San Francisco-based Embark Trucks is also going public in early November 2021. Embark said it expects to have driverless trucks operating by 2024. It recently announced 14,200 non-binding reservations for its manufacturer-agnostic autonomous driving software.
While those aforementioned moves are positive developments, there was one autonomous trucking company that suffered a setback yesterday. Plus and blank check firm Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. mutually terminated their SPAC merger. A Plus spokesperson told The Robot Report regulatory issues in China were to blame for the deal being called off. Plus said it is looking to restructure certain aspects of its business in hopes of re-starting discussions with Hennessy about a potential.
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