Oxford-based autonomous vehicle developer Oxbotica has raised a $140m Series C round at an undisclosed valuation to roll out its software internationally and work towards commercialising its technology.
What’s Oxbotica’s big vision?
The aim for Oxbotica’s technology is to automate any vehicle.
Current projects include the development of self-driving passenger shuttles at airports in collaboration with German passenger car and industrial vehicle manufacturing company ZF, and automating vehicles involved in wind and solar farms for energy giant BP, both of which are set to launch in 2024.
It also produced autonomous vehicles to help streamline the goods delivery process for grocery technology company Ocado, and in May last year passed the milestone of launching the first safe and sustainable deployment of a driverless, fully autonomous electric vehicle on publicly accessible roads in Europe when it released its AppliedEV vehicle onto the streets of Oxford.
Who invested in the round?
ZF, Ocado and bp ventures all invested in the company’s Series C, following participation in previous rounds.
Other investors include:
- Chinese conglomerate Tencent
- Japan’s Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co
- UK-based investor Business Growth Fund
- Climate tech investor Kiko Ventures
Oxbotica says it hopes to use the fresh funding to expand its tech across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, focusing on the industries of mining, energy, goods delivery, shared passenger shuttle transportation, agriculture and airports. The influx of cash brings its total funding to around $225m.
How’s the vehicle automation market looking?
The hype around AI in all its forms has also driven an increase in the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to vehicle automation.
According to a Research & Markets report, the global autonomous vehicle market is expected to reach $615bn by 2030. 2022 saw a number of autonomous vehicle developments by big brands: car brand conglomerate Stellantis (which owns makers including Fiat, Jeep and Chrysler) moved into the automation space with its acquisition of software producer AImotive, as did home appliance producer Bosch with its acquisition of Five, an AI startup that builds navigation systems for autonomous cars.
Oxbotica isn’t the first to venture into automating vehicles in an industrial context either — software developer Sensible 4 partnered with UD Trucks to produce an autonomous heavy-duty truck operating at a live industrial site in Japan in December 2022, and in the same month Sweden's Einride raised a huge €500m for its autonomous freight trucks.
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Sadia Nowshin is editorial assistant at Sifted. She tweets from @sadianowshin_
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