€7.1 million in Seed: Fenride to enable driverless logistics for even more companies
Munich, July 06, 2021 - Fernride, the Munich-based provider of Transportation-as-a-Service solutions for driverless logistics, today announced the closing of its Seed funding round of €7.1 million. Following a pre-seed funding round in 2019, as well as funding projects won, Fernride is now funded with a total of significantly more than €10 million.
Fernride's Seed funding is led by Munich-based venture capital firm 10x. All existing investors – including Speedinvest, Fly Ventures and UnternehmerTUM – also participated in the funding round. Furthermore, US-based deep tech VC Promus Ventures and Olivier Bonnet, CTO of BlaBlaCar, are participating as co-investors and business angel, respectively.
Fernride makes driverless logistics processes possible today
While fully autonomous vehicles are still dreams of the future, Fernride combines the autonomous technology that is already available today with the human skills of a teleoperator, closing the gap to driverless transportation of the future.
The Munich-based startup is initially focusing on standardized transports on company premises like ports and logistics terminals, where in Europe alone, more than 100,000 trucks are in use today. Fernride is already making the efficiency and safety benefits of autonomous vehicles available to its customers, giving them a significant head start on the road to driverless logistics.
The company's technology builds on more than ten years of research at the Chair of Automotive Technology at the Technical University of Munich and is being optimized in various projects in everyday operation.
Teleoperation integrates seamlessly into everyday operations
With Fernride's technology, a teleoperator can "remotely control" a semi-autonomous vehicle in situations where AI reaches its limits. This allows driverless transports to be carried out safely and profitably without altering or destabilizing existing processes. Gradually, the level of automation can be increased via over-the-air updates to successively increase efficiency.
To achieve this, Fernride equips the vehicles of leading OEMs with its teleoperation stack and connects them with its Teleoperation Center via a secure and ultra-fast data line (uRLLC, "ultra-Reliable and Low Latency Communications"). In Fernride's Teleoperation Center, a human teleoperator can intervene at critical moments at his workstation, which is modeled after a vehicle cockpit. In the medium term, a teleoperator will be able to support fleets of up to 50 autonomous vehicles.
Fernride is working with world-leading logistics companies, specialty vehicle and truck manufacturers on research and pilot projects. With the new investment, the founding team – consisting of Hendrik Kramer (CEO), Jean-Michael Georg (CTO) and Maximilian Fisser (COO) – will further develop the technology platform to conduct additional pilot projects with Fortune500 companies. In addition, Fernride expects its team at the HQ in Munich to grow from currently 30 employees to 60 employees in the short term.
Commenting on the investment, Hendrik Kramer, co-founder and CEO of Fernride, said:
"Fernride is building the leading platform for driverless logistics services. We are very excited to further develop our teleoperation technology with the investment and to expand our team. This will enable more and more companies to implement driverless logistics processes already today. We have strong partners from the logistics industry as well as leading vehicle manufacturers at our side. With this investment, we can quickly bring our vision of driverless logistics to the road."
Felix Haas, Partner at Munich-based 10x Group, says:
"In terms of potential, Fernride plays in the same league as our previous early-stage investments such as Volocopter or Luminar. For me, the team is already one of the strongest in Europe. I am convinced that Hendrik and his team will make a decisive contribution on the road to autonomous driving. We are proud to support Fernride on this journey."
Marie Hélène Armetsreiter, Partner at Speedinvest, says:
"Fernride's combination of a strong team and exciting technology in a market that is just emerging has incredible potential. It will be some time before autonomous driving is widely available on public streets. Meanwhile, Fernride has found a scalable way to greatly accelerate this development with their go-to-market via logistics applications on private property. Autonomous driving will be the next real disruption in our society – Fernride is making driverless processes possible already today."
Fernride is the leading platform for driverless logistics processes. The Munich-based startup's "driverless transport-as-a-service" (TaaS) offering combines the efficiency and safety of autonomous vehicles with the capabilities of human teleoperators to close the gap to future fully autonomous transport. Fernride works with world-leading logistics companies, specialty vehicle and truck manufacturers on research and pilot projects. Fernride's TaaS offering enables them to profitably and safely automate key parts of the logistics value chain and deliver driverless transportation today.
Fernride builds on ten years of research at the internationally recognized Chair of Automotive Technology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The company was founded in September 2019 by Hendrik Kramer, Dr. Max Fisser and Jean-Michael Georg.
The startup was awarded the German Mobility Award as well as the de:hub prize as most promising startup 2020. Currently, Fernride employs 30 people in Munich.