Stand-alone technology firm Robotic Research secures initial outside funding of $ 228 million; Luminar among investors
When discussing with potential customers, “the question is, ‘How quickly can we get the vehicles to operate autonomously,’” Araujo said. “We’re looking to close deals for active systems to work in business operations with companies that don’t really want to tinker with technology that isn’t ready.”
While Robotic Research has entered into a strategic agreement with Luminar on long-range lidar, there are no firm plans yet for a production program. But Fennimore says the two companies are likely to “do a lot of business together,” and says they are exploring ways to work together on both self-reliance and support services.
Fennimore and Araujo worked together at investment banking firm Jeffries prior to taking on their current roles, and further stated that there was a long-standing relationship between the engineering teams at Robotic Research and Luminar.
With complementary technologies and a focus on the short term – Luminar’s lidars will go into series production with Volvo Cars next year – it made sense to forge a partnership that could quickly capitalize on interest in trucking. Robotic Research’s experience in harsh environments and with a comprehensive library of on-road and off-road edge cases made it all the more engaging.
“From an investment standpoint, Robotic Research has been doing this for 20 years, and they have demonstrated their success in bringing autonomy under difficult conditions,” said Fennimore. “They have real income today. Few companies can say that, and they have shown they can do it profitably.”