Chinese automated guided vehicle (AGV) maker VisionNav Robotics announced today that it had raised hundreds of millions of RMB in Series C round financing. Investors include ByteDance, Shunwei Capital, China Unicom-CICC, IDG Capital, Lenovo Capital, and Eastern Bell Venture Capital.
Founded in 2016, VisionNav produces autonomous forklifts and robotic tractors. According to the company, it aims to facilitate the process of loading and stacking in fields such as automobile manufacturing, tire manufacturing, transportation, food, petrochemical, e-commerce logistics, third party logistics, pharmaceutical, and others.
VisionNav claimed that the latest fund will be used for R&D and global expansion, namely building and expanding its operation network in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, and European markets.
VisionNav's sales grew ten times from 2019 to 2021. Comparing to 2020, its amount per transaction and amount per repeat purchase amount both tripled, according to a 36kr report.
The Shenzhen-based company has established marketing networks in China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and others, servicing over 100 clients, including JD Logistics, Suning Logistics, Cainiao Logistics Amway, Tupperware, and the state-owned automaker GAC Ogihara.
Many industries are adopting automated guided vehicles since they are more cost-efficient as they can work 24 hours. Safety is also a primary pro factor - forklifts cause about 85 fatal accidents, 34,900 serious injuries, and 61,800 non-serious injuries per year, according to a United States Department of Labor analysis.
Automated guided vehicles are reshaping the landscape of logistics and manufacturing, where Chinese vehicle makers are in the spotlight. According to data released by China Construction Machinery Association, China's total annual sales of auto/semi-auto electric forklifts reached 322,932, a 42.98% jump from the previous year, with nearly a third being export sales.
VisionNav will be up against some of the industry's heavy hitters as it eyes global expansion. Many traditional manufacturers like Toyota, Jungheinrich, Mitsubishi, Hangcha Group, and Liugong Machinery are transiting to adapt to the new landscape by rolling out AGVs. VisionNav will need to accustom its unmanned vehicle system to specific geodemographics and safety standards of each market.