investment sector of volvo group has made a private investment in Canadian self-driving technology company Waabi Innovation.
The investment by the company that makes Volvo and Mack’s heavy-duty trucks reflects the company’s view that commercialization of autonomous driving will come before passenger cars in freight transport.
Martin Witt, President of Venture Capital, Volvo Group, said:
Volvo Trucks North America, the US arm of the Swedish company, has already partnered with Aurora Innovation to test self-driving trucks on freight routes.
According to the Volvo Group, fully autonomous trucking will increase freight capacity and improve efficiency and safety by making better use of expensive Class 8 trucks.
Waabi said in a blog post that the trucking industry is plagued by driver shortages, increased freight demand and long transit times.
“To solve these challenges and shape the future of large-scale autonomous trucking, best-in-class investors, technology providers, and partners are working together to engage more deeply with fleet and shipper customers. We need to build more transparent relationships and ultimately offer products that meet their needs,” said the Toronto-based company.
In November, Waabi announced Waabi Driver, an autonomous driving system. And last March, he released the Waabi World simulator, which tests his Waabi Driver’s reaction to the myriad scenarios required to hone his driving skills.
Still, the company said it has a lot of work to do.
Raquel Urtasun, Founder and CEO of Waabi, said:
Volvo said its investment did not represent a material financial event. Waabi joins Khosla Ventures, Uber, Radical Ventures, 8VC, Omers Ventures and BDC Capital as investors in Waabi.