Remember the unmanned ground sweeper landed in Changsha, Hunan last week?
On May 18, Cowarobot acquired 135 million yuan ($21 million) in its Series B financing led by Softbank China and China Creation Ventures (CCV), followed by Yingfeng Investment, Orca M&A Capital, CMIG Keytech Investment Holding Co.,Ltd, Wuhu Yuanda Venture Capital Co., Ltd., and Empower Investment.
On April 24, Cowa together with Zoomlion Environmental Industry Co., Ltd. (Zoomlion Environment) launched the first unmanned ground sweeping sanitation robots in Changsha. The robots have full road cleaning and intelligent path-planning capabilities.
CowaRobot announced that the unmanned ground sweeper would be applied in Changsha, Shanghai, Wuhu, Hefei, Guangdong and many other cities this year during the commercialization strategy.
Currently, the idea of CowaRobot has been approved by its investors.
Tommie He, founder and CEO of CowaRobot, stated that “with the progress of urbanization and the increasingly meticulous management of municipalities, we have seen that the environmental protection industry’s billion dollar-level needs are not well-met. Our goal is to use autonomous driving technology to change the sanitation industry.”
Tommie He has taught at Shanghai Jiaotong University and studied with robot master Hirose Shigeo. CowaRobot has also worked with Carnegie Mellon University to conduct R&D on driverless perception algorithms.
CowaRobots stated that it will perform deep analysis on low-speed unmanned technology to perceive the operating environment and identify obstacles, classify, track, and predict obstacle movement trajectories, and then plan a reasonable path.
To this end, the team developed a set of systems for perception, planning and positioning, including an unmanned intelligent identification system, a decision planning system, a feature-driven global positioning system, and a security strategy for establishing a multi-level anti-collision module.
Zhang Li, Vice President of Softbank China Capital, claimed that they target such leading companies and provide them with long-term investments for fast growth. Automotive and autonomous driving are a part of their strategic plan, and they are optimistic about CowaRobot’s autonomous driving technology. CowaRobot has a keen sense of customer demands and has efficiently put them into practice, promoting the commercialization of their products in industry. “CowaRobot is working with leading logistics companies and commercial settings, and we are very much looking forward to seeing specific products unveiled soon.”
Wei Zhou, managing partner of CCV, believes that “new technologies are one of the main investment directions for creating partners. In the fields of robotics and autonomous driving, Chinese companies are able to rely on real-world application needs and rich scenarios. The CowaRobot team has a strong technical background and an outstanding ability to explore commercial applications and autopilot scenarios. We are very optimistic about the area they have entered and expect them to land in more practical scenarios.”
CowaRobot was Zhou’s first investment case in the field of autonomous driving. In March 2017, he led the original Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) China Fund team to create CCV.