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January 6, 2021 10:30 AM, EST

Autonomous Startup Used by Mining Trucks Raises $47 Million

An excavator loads ore into an autonomous dump truck. (Bloomberg News)An excavator loads ore into an autonomous dump truck. (Bloomberg News)

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Oxbotica, a U.K. company that makes software for running autonomous vehicles, has raised $47 million in a fresh funding round that will go toward developing and deploying its products.

Investors in the round included BP Plc’s ventures arm, industrial technology firm Halma Plc, Tencent Holdings Ltd. and venture capital firm BGF, the company said in a statement Jan. 6.

Primarily serving industrial companies, such as miners who use the software to maneuver fleets around unpredictable terrain, Oxbotica’s technology is based on the idea of “universal autonomy,” which means it can work with a wide array of cameras, sensors and radars and doesn’t require access to maps or GPS.

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The funding round takes the total Oxbotica’s raised to about $80 million. CEO Ozgur Tohumcu declined to comment on the valuation beyond saying that the company is still below “unicorn” level of $1 billion or more. Doxa Partners, HostPlus, IP Group and Venture Science also participated in the funding round.

Tohumcu said in addition to the funds, the company is gaining partners that could benefit from the technology, such as Halma — which has already worked with Oxbotica to develop a navigation system for its Navtech brand — and BP.

The company was founded in 2014 as a spin-out of Oxford University by Chief Technology Officer Paul Newman and fellow professor Ingmar Posner. Oxbotica is targeting users that operate vehicles in ports, airports, chemical processing sites, and any “places where you’ve got lots of vehicles moving in offroad sites,” Newman said.

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