In one of the first big autonomous vehicle transactions of 2023, Oxbotica today announced that it has raised $140 million (U.S.) in Series C funding. It plans to deploy its operating system for Universal Autonomy in multiple commercial and industrial domains around the world.
“This landmark investment from world-class investors is a tremendous validation of our strategy to apply self-driving technology where there is persistent and urgent demand—in supply chains, industrial sectors and in decongesting our cities,” said Gavin Jackson, CEO of Oxbotica.
“We share a common purpose with our investors, as well as our growing number of customers and partners to make the Earth move more safely, more sustainably, and more efficiently,” he added. “We’re invigorated by their confidence and are moving quickly to accelerate the benefits of autonomy for everyone.”
Founded in 2014, Oxbotica said its latest funding will drive its expansion in North America, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa), and APAC (Asia-Pacific). The Oxford, U.K.-based company predicted that the investment will accelerate the deployment of its autonomy software in industries where there is both urgent need and potential to scale, such as agriculture, airports, energy, goods delivery, mining, and shared passenger transportation.
Oxbotica innovations expand
Oxbotica said it has a proven record of innovations that have advanced the commercialization of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology. They include Europe’s first zero-occupancy trial on a publicly accessible road in May 2022, metaverse-based testing, and collaborations with the insurance sector.
“Oxbotica was founded eight years ago on the vision of Universal Autonomy—providing safe and sustainable autonomy that is independent of workplace and vehicle type,” said Paul Newman, co-founder and chief technology officer of Oxbotica.
“With the greatest engineering talent and experience, using the best of AI, robotics and the metaverse, we are delivering on that promise to create value for our customers, our communities and our planet,” he said. “We welcome our new investors who share our bold vision to redefine the role of the human in the operation of vehicles.”
In addition, Oxbotica's collaborators include Ocado Group. The companies are jointly working on autonomous deliveries to fulfill customer orders.
A software-defined vehicle from partner Applied EV, driven by Oxbotica, has already operated with no onboard driver on a publicly accessible road in Oxford.
The company plans to launch in 2024 autonomous passenger shuttles and industry-specific vehicles in partnership with Applied EV, bp, NEVS, and ZF.
Meanwhile, together with Wenco International Mining Systems Ltd., Oxbotica said it is bringing open autonomy to mining to improve safety and sustainability combined with lower operational costs.
More investors get on board
Oxbotica said its Series C accommodates growing demand from new and current shareholders. It said it expects more investors to sign on before the funding round closes in a few months.
The round included financial and strategic partners, as well as new investors such as Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co. and ENEOS Innovation Partners. Current Oxbotica shareholders who are re-investing included bp ventures, BGF, Halma, Hostplus, Kiko Ventures (IP Group), Ocado Group, Tencent, Venture Science, and ZF, among other global companies. Including today's announcement, Oxbotica has raised about $225 million to date.
“Oxbotica really sets itself apart from its competitors thanks to its ambitious vision to unlock Universal Autonomy,” said Mitsuru Yamaguchi, senior managing executive officer at Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance. “We are excited to combine Oxbotica’s world-class AI and robotic techniques with our own pioneering expertise in the telematics insurance arena. This will leave us well placed to develop innovative insurance products and services which will create a safer, greener, and more secure society for everyone.”
Erin Hallock, managing partner at bp ventures, noted: “We are excited to grow our investment in Oxbotica, which has become a global leader in autonomous vehicle software. Our sustained support is a great example of bp ventures’ continued investment in game-changing technology companies.”
“By leveraging automation and digital technology, we believe the team can improve safety and increase efficiency across a wide range of vehicles, and [we] support bp’s ambition to accelerate the global revolution in mobility,” Hallock said.
Citi acted as a placement agent to Oxbotica. Foundational support for Oxbotica’s early innovations was provided by the U.K. government through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.