Autonomous trucking startup Plus (formerly known as Plus.ai) announced Wednesday it has raised $200 million in fresh funding. The round was led by new investors Guotai Junan International, CPE and Wanxiang International Investment, and will be used to fuel the global commercialization of the company’s automated trucking system.
Utilizing 360-degree multimodal sensor fusion, deep learning visual algorithms and simultaneous location and mapping, Plus’ tech was created to ensure trucks get from A to B safely, quickly and with more cost efficiency. The system can be installed in existing trucks or as an upfit option when manufacturing new trucks.
The addition of this tech doesn’t remove the need for a human truck driver, however, it simply reduces things like truck-related accidents and fuel used, which “improves the lives of truck drivers,” according to Plus.
“Trucking accidents and [the] growing truck driver shortage affect our economy and daily lives,” Plus co-founder and CEO David Liu said in a statement. “All of us at Plus are inspired every day to develop automated trucks that are going to make our world safer and greener, and helps fleets drive more fuel efficiently and reduce operating costs.”
Since its founding in 2016, Plus has positioned itself as a leader in the burgeoning industry of autonomous trucking, claiming to have launched pilot programs with some of the world’s largest logistics providers over the years. It was the first company to complete a cross-country commercial freight run in the U.S. with an autonomous truck (via a partnership with Land O’ Lakes), and will be the first autonomous trucking developer to start mass production, beginning this year.
Plus says more than 10,000 units have already been pre-ordered and, over the next few years, the company expects to have its tech deployed on tens of thousands of trucks across the U.S., China and Europe.
Now, as the company begins mass production in the next few months, Plus will be growing its sales and support teams to help get this technology integrated in fleets’ daily operations. The company is also scaling its deployments in the U.S. and China, and is expanding into Europe and other parts of Asia, which means it is also growing its engineering team. There are currently dozens of open tech positions available at Plus’ Cupertino office.