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VisionNav Robotics Raises $80 Million for Driverless Industrial Vehicles

In the lastest move in logistics robotics, VisionNav Robotics, a global manufacturer of driverless industrial vehicles, announced a C+ round of more than $80 million led by Meituan and 5Y Capital.

VisionNav Robotics, based in Shenzhen, China, said the funding will be mainly used to research new technology and innovative forms of product development, and to optimize product performance, focusing on product stability and standardization, as well as to promote large-scale implementation and localized delivery for global customers.

The company is committed to applying artificial intelligence (AI), environmental perception, deep learning, servo control and other core technologies to industrial vehicles, providing autonomous vehicles and flexible unmanned solutions for intralogistics in factories and warehouses. So far, VisionNav Robotics said it has developed nine series of driverless industrial vehicles and robot control systems.

Since its last round of funding, VisionNav Robotics has accelerated its globalization and set up marketing centers in more than 30 countries and regions. The company has successfully delivered more than 350 projects, more than 1,500 autonomous forklifts and unmanned tractors, covering textiles, auto parts, tires, petrochemicals, tobacco, food, pharmaceuticals, 3C electronics manufacturing, e-commerce logistics, third-party logistics, printing and papermaking.

The company cited World Industrial Trucks Statistics data that global forklift shipments volume reached 1.58 million units in 2021, an increase of 42.93 percent over the previous year.

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Based on industry-leading robot perception, control, positioning and scheduling technology, the company has covered all areas of intralogistics, making breakthroughs such as 9.4-meter-high rack storage, two-meter narrow aisle access, unmanned loading and unloading and multi-layer mobile material frame stacking.

Li Luyang, CEO of VisionNav Robotics, said under the backdrop of geopolitical tensions and the ongoing pandemic, the robot industry has ushered in a year of “challenge” and is moving toward a stage of large-scale and standardized delivery. VisionNav Robotics has gradually shaped the ecology around unmanned intralogistics, improved its integration with the supply chain and built a competitive barrier for the company.

According to Luyang, company sales saw 10-fold growth between 2019 to 2021 and expects 300 percent growth this year, with the average order amount increasing 350 percent and the amount of customer re-purchase orders rising 300 percent. With the entry of new markets and the large-scale delivery in advantageous scenarios, business scale is promising to increase five-fold this year.

Robotics logistics has been seeing much activity of late. Boston Dynamics, a specialist in mobile robotics, announced recently that Stretch, its newest robot designed specifically for warehouses and distribution centers, is now available for commercial purchase. Part of a new generation of mobile robots, Stretch was introduced in Spring 2021 and has been in pilot testing with a select group of customers over the past several months. All units scheduled for 2022 delivery have already sold out, the company said, with strong demand from early customers, including DHL Supply Chain, Gap, H&M and Performance Team-A Maersk Company.

Last month, Pitney Bowes and robotic sorting systems specialist Ambi Robotics announced a $23 million deployment expansion of AmbiSort systems in Pitney Bowes’s U.S. e-commerce hubs. The AI-powered robotics will help Pitney Bowes speed parcel sortation to last-mile delivery providers, while improving productivity, accuracy and worker safety.