Autonomous mobility and robotics solutions company Robotic Research announced it raised $228 million in new funding on Thursday. The Series A round marks the company’s first time raising outside capital and included investments from SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Enlightenment Capital, Crescent Cove Advisors, Luminar Technologies and Henry Crown and Company. The funding will be used to further the innovation and expansion of Robotic Research’s commercial division, RR.AI.
RR.AI develops and deploys autonomous and robotic solutions for commercial vehicles, such as buses and different types of transport trucks. This division of Robotic Research integrates its AutoDrive autonomous driving system (ADS) into commercial vehicles. The ADS is well-suited for complex environments, meaning it can handle anything from complicated bus routes in commuter traffic to rugged, rural terrain.
AutoDrive has already been integrated into a number of commercial vehicles, including North America’s first automated, heavy-duty transit bus as well as Class 8 trucks and trucks used for farming and yard work, according to a company statement. Robotic Research says there are currently over 80 unmanned trucks operating with RR.AI’s technology. The new funding is likely to help grow that number of vehicles.
“This investment reflects our success in developing autonomous solutions for our U.S. government customers and will provide the resources needed to meet our growing commercial customer demand and the expansion of our commercial efforts,” Robotic Research CEO Alberto Lacaze said in a statement. “Our long history and experience has enabled us to develop a proven solution that is not only rugged, safe and reliable, but also versatile and ideal for operating across a variety of environments, weather conditions and use cases.”
One of Robotic Research’s investors, Luminar, is also in the automotive hardware and software business. In addition to investing in Robotic Research, Luminar will provide the company with its long-range lidar technology — which helps autonomous vehicles calculate distances by measuring how long laser light pulses take to bounce back to a sensor.
Although no new hiring initiatives were announced as part of the funding round, Robotic Research is currently hiring for a number of roles in the D.C. area. The company also has several internship opportunities now accepting applications.