While distribution yards are critical links in the supply chain, they often involve repetitive, manual tasks performed in inhospitable and potentially hazardous conditions. Outrider Technologies Inc., which has developed autonomous yard trucks, today announced that it has closed $73 million in Series C financing. The company said it plans to use the funding to expand its technology porfolio, hire more staff in the U.S. and internationally, and scale its fleet with large customers.
“Outrider has consistently delivered breakthrough technology to automate one of the most inefficient links in the supply chain – the distribution yard,” stated Andrew Smith, founder and CEO of Outrider.
“Our customers will move massive quantities of freight more efficiently, safely, and sustainably using Outrider’s technology,” he said. “We are thrilled to have an outstanding network of investors who share our vision to set a new standard for the global logistics industry.”
Golden, Colo.-based Outrider said it works with logistics-dependent enterprises to improve safety and increase efficiency. The company added that its customers represent over 20% of all yard trucks operating in North America.
Outrider's customers are in the package shipping, retail, e-commerce, consumer packaged goods, grocery, manufacturing, and intermodal industries. They have been conducting joint product testing and pilot operations since 2019.
Outrider System adapts to enterprise operations
Trucking moves over 20 billion tons of freight each year, and almost all of it passes through distribution hubs, said Outrider. These yards are difficult to staff and create bottlenecks in the supply chain, it noted.
By automating yard operations, enterprises can increase the time freight spends moving down the highway, address labor shortages, and allow more people to work in safer environments, claimed the company.
To autonomously move semi-trailers, the Outrider System dynamically adapts to changes occurring in the yard, such as interacting with over-the-road semi-trucks, delivery vehicles, or service vehicles. It also integrates with supply chain management systems.
At the center of the Outrider System is an autonomous yard truck that hitches to and unhitches from trailers. It can also robotically connect and disconnect trailer brake lines, back semi-trailers with precision, interact safely with loading docks, and keep track of trailer locations throughout the yard, said the company.
In addition, Outrider said its systems can help customers achieve their sustainability goals. Instead of automating legacy diesel vehicles, the company said it automates electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce fossil fuel use, lower energy and maintenance costs, and reduce emissions.
Investors join board of directors
FM Capital led Outrider's Series C round. New investors include a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and NVentures, NVIDIA’s venture capital arm. Outrider has raised $191 million in financing to date.
“Outrider has addressed all the pieces – technology, safety, operations, and support – needed to deploy a reliable, industrial-grade system at scale,” said Mark Norman, managing partner of FM Capital.
“The company is a case study in bringing advanced robotics and autonomy technology to market,” he added. “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.”
Existing investors participating in the round include Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).
“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. “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.”
Other new investors joining the Series C financing are B37 Ventures; Lineage Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Lineage Logistics; Presidio Ventures, the venture capital arm of Sumitomo Corp.; and ROBO Global Ventures.
In addition, Henrik Christensen, a founding member of ROBO Global’s advisory board and Qualcomm chair of robotics at the University of California San Diego, has joined the company as a board advisor.
Outrider plans to continue growth
Since announcing its Series B funding in 2020, Outrider said it has performed tens of thousands of fully autonomous trailer moves at customer sites and its Advanced Testing Facility. It claimed that its test site was the first in the world dedicated to yard automation.
Fast Company recognized Outrider as a top 10 company in the logistics category in its 2022 “World’s Most Innovative Companies” list.
Outrider said its Series C financing will “further accelerate its work with EV yard truck manufacturers to maximize the benefits of automation and electrification for customers and the communities around large logistics hubs.”
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