Self-driving truck developer Einride has closed another funding round, securing a large asset-backed credit facility as it works to develop an automated electric freight mobility ecosystem.
The deal will give Einride up to $500 million in capital, the Stockholm, Sweden-based company said Wednesday.
In October, Einride completed testing an autonomous pod truck on public roads moving between GE Appliances’ manufacturing facility and warehouse in Selmer, Tennessee. The test came after U.S. regulators approved Einride to operate the vehicle on public roads in June.
Einride’s self-driving truck has no driver’s seat or cab. It looks like a high-tech shipping container on wheels. The truck is remotely controlled by a human operator who sits at a desk behind a large screen that shows the truck’s direction of travel using joysticks and other controls.
The company’s approach differs from other companies developing self-driving trucks. Waymo, Aurora, and others have tested autonomous technology on conventional Class 8 diesel trucks from manufacturers like Freightliner and Peterbilt. Self-driving technology takes place mainly on public roads in the southwest, where the safety his driver in the cab monitors the behavior of the vehicle.
Einride Founder and CEO Robert Falck said in a statement: “With the support of our investors and our shared belief in this mission, we will continue to drive disruptive change to global freight at scale.”
Einride has prototyped its first pod truck, but eventually plans to outsource manufacturing, Falck said. car news.
We are also helping companies transition to non-autonomous electric trucking.
Earlier this year, Einride placed an order for 200 BYD Class 8 battery electric day cab trucks for a US customer. BYD, which makes trucks in Lancaster, Calif., said the order was the largest outside of Asia. The truck has a charge interval of 200 miles (200 miles) and is therefore used for local operations.
Einride developed the Saga digital platform. This helps customers find the most efficient ways to use their electric trucks to maximize deployment and reduce their carbon footprint. Einride plans to incorporate other services into its platform, such as finding the best uses for autonomous electric trucks.
“When clients say they want to use electricity, they want to do it in a cost-competitive way. “We want to create a new transportation system that is fundamentally different from what we have today,” Falk said.
In addition to GE Appliances, Saga platform customers include food and beverage companies such as Beyond Meat, Oatley and AB InBev.
Einride said it has raised $200 million from new and previous investors including Swedish pension fund AMF, EQT Ventures, Northzone, Polar Structure, Norrsken VC and Temasek in its Series C funding round.
It also worked with Barclays Europe to secure $300 million in debt financing, including a $150 million initial facility deployment commencing in January.
Einride’s funding came at a time when other self-driving companies were either bankrupt or struggling. Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen closed their Argo AI joint venture this fall. Other self-driving car companies, such as Nuro and Motional, are laying off employees.
Even well-capitalized Apple is scaling back its self-driving prototype electric car, delaying the car’s planned launch date by about a year to 2026, according to Bloomberg.
Einride’s funding is “a standout in the mobility space, but we’ve seen some activity in the EV cargo space, including the delivery of the Tesla Semi PepsiCo and Kodiak Robotics winning a US military contract for self-driving vehicles.” ,” said Jonathan Geurkink, Emerging Technologies Analyst at Pitchbook. .
“Einride has it all,” said Geurkink, whose strategy aligns with current thinking of combining autonomous technology and remote control to “keep humans involved in various edge cases.” I am doing it.
Chris Urmson, one of the founding members of Google’s self-driving car project more than a decade ago and now CEO of Aurora Innovation, said the self-driving industry is similar to what happened in the first few years of the auto industry. I see it being weeded out.
“I’ve been saying for six or seven years that we’re going to see consolidation,” he said at the Automotive News Congress in Detroit on December 5th. “That doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting area. It just means that there are people who have the combination of capabilities, capital and technology to build partnerships and make them successful.”
Aurora once considered robo-taxis as the primary vehicle for commercializing autonomous driving, but is now moving to trucking.
Many in the industry see trucking, which relies primarily on highway driving, as the first widespread use of self-driving cars. Waymo is also pursuing automated trucking with ongoing tests in Texas.