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White Rhino, a Chinese autonomous delivery company, raised more than $7 million in Series A+ funding.
White Rhino operates a fleet of autonomous delivery vehicles. Its vehicles are similar to Nuro’s R2. They’re not built for passengers, but are small vehicles meant to transport goods. While the cars themselves have achieved L4 autonomous driving, White Rhino has remote operators onhand to get its vehicles out of tricky situations, like parallel driving and interactions with humans.
The company plans to use this round of funding to expand its delivery operations to more cities and increase research and development to adapt its system to more road scenarios.
“Our goal is to realize daily operation of 5,000 unmanned vehicles on public roads within 5 years from 2022,” Zhu Lei, CEO of White Rhino, said.
This is the company’s second funding round in just six months. In July 2021, it brought in nearly $10 million in pre-series A financing. In the same month, White Rhino partnered with Dada Group to create an unmanned delivery ecosystem. Using this system, customers will be able to order hourly deliveries by placing orders through retail platforms, like JD Daojia, and have them delivered with White Rhino’s autonomous vehicles. Customers access their orders using a unique code.
White Rhino was founded in 2019, and in 2020, the company launched commercial operations for supermarket deliveries. Since September 2020, White Rhino has worked with Yonghui Superstores, and has launched 10 unmanned delivery vehicles in Anting, Jiading District, Shanghai. The company serves customers in a 3-5 km radius around the store.
Investors in the most recent round of funding include Ropeway Capital, Changan Private Capital and Cornerstone Capital. It also included participation from previous investors, like Linear Capital.
“It seems that it is too early to realize fully driverless passenger cars, but low-speed and specific scenarios of driverless driving have increasingly appeared around us,” said Shi Donghua, the founding partner of Ropeway Capital. “The scene with the most imaginative space and commercial value is unmanned delivery. White Rhinoceros completed the technical iteration in only two years.”
White Rhino’s delivery fleet has undergone testing in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Shanzhen, among other cities.