Senior Auto, a provider of driverless solutions and operation services in the pan-port field, announced on Tuesday that it had received 100 million yuan ($16 million) in A-round financing.
The lead investor was ByteDance and co-investors included existing shareholders such as Guangfa GF Xinde Investment Management, Jinbang Capital and Chentao Capital. CVCapital was the exclusive financial adviser for the deal. The funds have been earmarked for research and development, daily operations and market expansion.
Senior Auto was founded in April 2020. Earlier, the company had completed an angel investing round and a Pre-A financing round in May 2020 and February 2021 respectively.
According to zgsyb.com, truck drivers total more than 50% of the total port transportation cost in the port operations in China. Port truck drivers need to obtain an A2 driving license or above, and few drivers satisfy the requirement. In addition the 24-hour operation in the port requires multiple shifts of drivers which can lead to many problems such as fatigue, and thus threaten the safety of all involved.
Port automation in general started taking shape globally about 40 to 50 years ago but, in China, automation only started around the year 2000. However, restricted by the high cost of traditional AGV-related supporting facilities, further improvements were needed to be made in port automation.
Senior Auto is adopting a scheme that integrates lasers, cameras, millimeter waves, and ultrasonic fusion, so that it is able to perceive redundancy and various working conditions in the port. Its self-developed hierarchical feature fusion network ensures 100% recall and 99.7% accuracy of obstacles, and can achieve a computing speed of 32fps on self-developed intelligent hardware, which greatly improves system stability.
In addition, the multi-fusion positioning and precise parking systems provide a guarantee for the 5cm positioning accuracy and 2cm parking accuracy for the automatic trucks involved in the system. Its unique cloud control platform can dispatch road network and transportation equipment, simulate hundreds of unmanned transportation vehicles in real-time, and monitor and control remotely.
Compared with other suppliers, Senior Auto provides an unmanned system that adapts to different working conditions such as the loading and unloading of ships and empty container sites. The system also supports operations with tire cranes, track cranes and stackers, and is also able to complete normal, unmanned, flat-surface transportation at multiple docks with or without workers.
He Bei, CEO of Senior Auto, said that in the first half of 2022, the company is expected to obtain another 3 or 4 orders for unmanned commercial operation in Chinese ports. The company is also actively expanding its international market presence.
At present, Senior Auto has deployed nearly 40 vehicles for normal unmanned operation. It is expected to step out safety officers in 2022, and then, unmanned driving will cost less in port and boast higher efficiency.