Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Nvidia and Abu Dhabi join $73 million Outrider funding round

Outrider, a startup developing autonomous yard operations for logistics hubs, has closed $73 million in Series C financing led by FM Capital. 

New investors include a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and NVentures, Nvidia’s venture capital arm.

Existing investors participating in the round include Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Outrider has raised $191 million in financing to date based on its technical leadership in autonomous systems for distribution yards.

Andrew Smith, CEO and founder of Outrider, says: “Outrider has consistently delivered breakthrough technology to automate one of the most inefficient links in the supply chain – the distribution yard.

“Our customers will move massive quantities of freight more efficiently, safely, and sustainably using Outrider’s technology. We are thrilled to have an outstanding network of investors who share our vision to set a new standard for the global logistics industry.”

Trucking moves over 20 billion tons of freight each year, and almost all of it passes through distribution yards. While they are critical links in the supply chain, today’s yards still run largely the way they have for decades – filled with repetitive, manual tasks performed in often inhospitable and potentially hazardous conditions.

These yards are difficult to staff and create bottlenecks in the supply chain. By automating yard operations, logistics-dependent enterprises will increase the time freight spends moving down the highway, address labor shortages, and allow more people to work in safer environments.

Outrider will use this funding to expand its proprietary autonomy and safety technology portfolio, increase hiring domestically and internationally, and scale its yard automation solution with large customers in package shipping, retail, eCommerce, consumer packaged goods, grocery, manufacturing, and intermodal industries.

Outrider’s customers, representing more than 20 percent of all yard trucks operating in North America, have invested in joint product testing and pilot operations since 2019.

Mark Norman, managing partner of FM Capital, says: “Outrider has addressed all the pieces – technology, safety, operations, and support – needed to deploy a reliable, industrial-grade system at scale. The company is a case study in bringing advanced robotics and autonomy technology to market.

“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.”

To autonomously move semi-trailers, the Outrider System seamlessly works with how large distribution hubs operate today. Outrider’s fully autonomous system dynamically adapts to changes occurring in the yard, such as interacting with over-the-road semi-trucks, delivery vehicles, service vehicles, and integrates with supply chain management systems.

At the center of the Outrider System is the autonomous yard truck, which hitches to and unhitches from trailers, robotically connects and disconnects trailer brake lines, backs semi-trailers with precision, interacts safely with loading docks, and keeps track of trailer locations throughout the yard.

Outrider’s technology also helps its customers achieve their sustainability goals. Instead of automating legacy diesel vehicles, Outrider automates electric vehicles to reduce fossil fuel use, lower energy and maintenance costs, and reduce emissions.

Outrider’s Series C financing will further accelerate its work with electric vehicle yard truck manufacturers to maximize the benefits of automation and electrification for customers and the communities around large logistics hubs.

Mohamed Siddeek, head of NVentures, Nvidia, says: “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.

“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.”

In addition to ADIA and NVentures, 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 Corporation; and ROBO Global Ventures.

Additionally, Henrik Christensen, a founding member of ROBO Global’s advisory board and Qualcomm chair of robotics at UC San Diego, has joined the company as a board advisor.

Since announcing its Series B financing in 2020, Outrider has performed tens of thousands of fully autonomous trailer moves at customer sites and Outrider’s Advanced Testing Facility, released best-in-class technology, opened a first-in-industry test site dedicated to yard automation, and developed an extensive intellectual property portfolio.

Leave a Reply