Solo, led by former employees of Waymo, Tesla, and BMW, will bring to market the safest, greenest, and most efficient heavy truck specifically designed for rapid deployment of autonomous software.
Solo Advanced Vehicle Technologies (Solo), the vehicle hardware company that is reshaping the freight transportation industry, today announced a $7 million seed round led by Trucks VC and Maniv Mobility, with participation from Wireframe Ventures. Solo is developing the first heavy truck platform from the ground up that is compatible with any autonomous driving software, resolving the inefficiency associated with retrofitting existing human-centric trucks for autonomous driving. Today’s financing will be used to expand Solo’s engineering team as the company expands in its new Fremont, California, headquarters. The team will finalize the design and construct Solo’s first test vehicle, a battery-electric Class 8 truck scheduled to begin testing in 2022. The test “mule” will provide input into the design and engineering of Solo’s alpha truck, the SD1 Heavy, which will also progress this year.
“Logistics is often where transportation innovation begins. We’ve seen this time and again in our investing history and yet, autonomous cars have been a larger focus for the on-road market in the last ten years”
“At Solo, we believe that modern technology requires a modern platform, yet the autonomous trucks already being deployed today are forced to combine advanced autonomous software with antiquated vehicles. By delivering a purpose-built heavy truck platform that is software agnostic we will materially change the future of the freight transportation sector and enable the growth and efficiency that the global supply chain demands,” said Graham Doorley, Founder and CEO of Solo Advanced Vehicle Technologies. “Our team has decades of experience understanding the opportunities for autonomous trucking, and has seen first-hand the limitations of the existing platforms. We are uniquely primed to tackle this market and, with the early support of committed investors, we’re excited to build the future of freight.”
Solo’s team gained early experience working on the ground-breaking Tesla Model S, Model 3, and Tesla Semi teams, as well as serving as founding leaders of Waymo’s autonomous truck project. Additionally, the team has decades of experience working for OEMs and in the autonomous vehicle industry. Solo is reimagining every aspect of a truck platform with its alpha truck, the SD1 Heavy, in a way that only a startup can. The platform’s clean sheet design incorporates cutting-edge active aerodynamics and a proprietary battery-electric powertrain. The SD1 Heavy will feature sensor placement that is stable and optimized, which is not possible with legacy trucks. The SD1 Heavy will feature the industry’s first fully redundant architecture for an autonomous Class 8 truck, making it compatible with any autonomous software.
“Logistics is often where transportation innovation begins. We’ve seen this time and again in our investing history and yet, autonomous cars have been a larger focus for the on-road market in the last ten years,” said Jeffrey Schox, General Partner, Trucks Venture Capital. “When I was a young engineer working on GM’s first electric vehicle, I don’t think I could have imagined a world of zero-emission, automated trucks. Solo has the opportunity this decade to transform how we move goods cleaner and more safely. The investor syndicate that Graham and his team have brought together at this seed stage will be essential for Solo’s future financial strategy, IP portfolio, and technical success. This is a global opportunity and it’s important to have such a strong early group to support Solo as the company takes these next vital steps.”
“A global supply chain crisis has underscored the need for transformation in the trucking industry. Solo is the first serious effort to look beyond the horizon to a moment, not far off, when the most efficient, cleanest truck platform that can safely ‘drive,’ changes the course of a hundred year old industry,” said Michael Granoff, Managing Partner of Maniv Mobility.