Led by alums from Waymo, Tesla, and BMW, Solo will bring to market the safest, greenest, and most efficient heavy truck purpose-built for the rapid deployment of autonomous software
SAN FRANCISCO – Solo Advanced Vehicle Technologies (Solo), the vehicle hardware company revolutionizing the freight transportation industry, today announced $7 million in seed funding led by Trucks VC with participation from Maniv Mobility and Wireframe Ventures. Solo is building the first ground-up heavy truck platform to be compatible with any autonomous driving software, thereby solving the inefficiency of retrofitting existing, human-centric trucks for autonomous driving. Today’s financing will be used to build out Solo’s engineering team as the company expands at its new headquarters in Fremont, California. The team will finalize the design and build Solo’s first test vehicle – a battery-electric Class 8 truck that will begin testing in 2022. The test “mule” will inform the design and engineering of Solo’s alpha truck, the SD1 Heavy, a process that will also advance this year.
“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, 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 on the groundbreaking Tesla Model S, Model 3, and Tesla Semi teams, as well as served as founding leaders on the autonomous truck project within Waymo, further, the team shares decades of experience at OEMs and in the autonomy industry. With its alpha truck, the SD1 Heavy, Solo is rethinking every facet of a truck platform as only a startup can. A clean sheet design affords the platform cutting edge, active aerodynamics coupled with a proprietary, battery-electric powertrain. The SD1 Heavy will feature stabilized and optimized placement of sensors that is not possible with legacy trucks. With the first, fully-redundant architecture for an autonomous, Class 8 truck, the SD1 Heavy will be 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 VC. “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, Maniv Mobility.