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China’s Autonomous Logistics Sector Gets Boots From Major Investors

Aiming to build an autonomous logistics infrastructure in China, GLP and Bosch have invested in TrunkTech, a self-driving trucking startup based in Beijing, China.

TrunkTech is an autonomous driving technology and service provider focused on using artificial intelligence (AI) to design customized autonomous driving solutions. These include fleet management and remote control software that can be fully integrated into customer operating platforms at ports and warehouses.

In December 2017, TrunkTech launched China’s first autonomous container transportation in Port Tianjin with a loading capacity of 40 tons per truck. In April 2018, a TrunkTech-designed self-driving electrical truck commenced test runs in Port Tianjing and TrunkTech was elected into the Bosch Plug and Play Accelerator.

GLP and Bosch made their investments through their private venture capital arms Hidden Hill Capital and Robert Bosch Venture Capital, respectively.

Recently, ProLogis, a private equity investment platform, announced the completion of the Mainline Technology A+ round of financing with Bosch Group Venture Capital, a global auto parts supplier. Hidden Mountain Capital has long been committed to building an intelligent logistics ecosystem and the Mainline technology is in line with the strategic awareness and positioning of industry AI technology.

“ProLogis is committed to building a leading smart logistics ecosystem that uses technology and big data to enhance the performance of its logistics assets and create greater value for its customers and partners,” Dongfang Hao, ProLogis China chief strategy officer, and chairman and managing partner of Hidden Mountain Capital, said. “We believe that the Mainline Technology team has the ability to use road technology to drive road transport, improve service quality and efficiency, and ultimately promote the overall upgrade and iteration of the logistics mode.”

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Mainline Technology CEO Zhang Tianlei noted that the commercialization of driverless technology in the logistics industry is a long-term system requiring collaboration between many sectors.

“The Mainline Technology team will continue to increase the investment in unmanned R&D in the field of port and high-speed trunk logistics and transportation, empowering ports, high-speed trunk lines, and urban full-site logistics and transportation, and gradually realize the vision of liberating productivity,” Tianlei said. “Starting from the port, we will gradually build a logistics engine that covers closed, high-speed and urban-wide scenes.”

With the opening of the intelligent network test vehicle and open road, the Mainline technology will carry out road tests in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shandong and other places to further improve the stability of the product and create a logistics network.

Dr. Ingo Ramesohl, head of Robert Bosch Ventures Ltd., said, “Autopilot is one of our most promising investment projects…The ability to achieve unmanned transportation throughout the day is unmatched by other participants in the unmanned field. Mainline technology has brought us a new product for future unmanned logistics.”

GLP is a leading global investment manager specializing in logistics and related technology investments, with $66 billion of assets under management in real estate and private equity funds around the world.