A Colorado startup whose technology supports autonomous yard operations has recorded $65 million in venture capital backing to scale and support the rapid automation of distribution yards, the firm said today.
The deal brings Golden, Colorado-based Outrider to $118 million raised to date, following the $53 million funding round it announced in February. Today’s announcement was a “series B” funding round was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), with support from the existing investors NEA, 8VC, and Prologis Ventures, as well as the new investors Evolv Ventures (the investment arm of Kraft Heinz) and Henry Crown and Co.
According to Outrider, today’s yards run much like they have been for decades, featuring repetitive, manual tasks performed in hazardous working conditions. However, distribution yard operations are necessary for transitioning goods between the road and the warehouse in all supply-chain-intensive industries. That critical role has been strained by disruptions caused by Covid-19, highlighting the need for automated distribution yard technology to improve supply chain resiliency, Outrider said.
As a solution, the firm transforms electric yard trucks sourced from OEM partners into autonomous vehicles. Outrider offers a three-part system that integrates those autonomous vehicles with management software and site infrastructure. With a click of a button, the system moves trailers to and from loading docks and parking spots, hitches and unhitches trailers, robotically connects and disconnects trailer brake lines, inventories trailer locations, and centrally monitors and controls all functions, the firm says.
According to Outrider, electric yard trucks are preferable to diesel powered vehicles, thanks to their reduced maintenance, lower operating costs, and cleaner power. The company will address a market that currently includes more than 50,000 diesel yard trucks operating in North America, together emitting 3.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, the equivalent of one coal-fired power plant.
Backed with its new funding, Outrider now has more than 110 employees working on controls, computer vision, motion planning, robotic manipulation, cloud computing, functional safety, and multi-robot orchestration.