Munich Re Ventures backs Fernride
German startup Fernride has raised $50 million for its self-driving trucks project, where humans assist the autonomous process. The Munich-based company originally aimed to raise $31 million, but more investors showed interest. Key investors include Munich Re Ventures, Bayern Kapital, and former Siemens’ Klaus Kleinfeld, who’s set to lead Fernride’s board. Other backers are HHLA and Deutsche Bahn’s DB Schenker.
Fernride, testing with Volkswagen, DB Schenker, and HHLA, uses their trucks in controlled spaces at low speeds. For example, HHLA moves containers with these vehicles in the Hamburg port, while Volkswagen transports goods within their factories. Fernride’s trucks drive on their own about 80% of the time, and humans remotely guide them when needed.
Fernride believes in high, but not full, autonomy with human involvement. As tech advances, these trucks will operate more independently, and their use will expand beyond current scenarios, according to CEO Kramer.