KeepTruckin, a hardware and software developer that assists trucking fleets in managing vehicle, cargo, and driver safety, announced today that it has raised $190 million in a Series E fundraising round, valuing the firm at more than $2 billion, according to CEO Shoaib Makani.
G2 Venture Partners, which recently created a $500 million fund to assist modernise established industries, joined the round alongside current investors such as Greenoaks Capital, Index Ventures, IVP, and Scale Venture Partners, as well as funds administered by BlackRock.
KeepTruckin intends to reinvest its new capital in its AI-powered products, including GPS tracking, ELD compliance, dispatch, and workflow, but it is particularly interested in improving its smart dashcam, which, according to Makani, instantly detects unsafe driving behaviours such as cell phone distraction and close following and alerts drivers in real time.
Usher Transport, one of the firm’s clients, reports a 32 percent annual reduction in accidents after deploying the Smart Dashcam, DRIVE risk score, and Safety Hub, all of which are tools offered by the company to promote safety.
“What differentiates KeepTruckin from other edge cameras is our ability to build complex models (that other edge cameras are unable to run) and run them on the edge with low-power, low-memory, and low-bandwidth constraints,” Makani told TechCrunch. “We developed proprietary IPs to address this issue under a variety of environmental conditions, including low light, extreme weather, occluded subject, and distortions.”
This level of precision requires billions of ground truth data points to be taught and evaluated on KeepTruckin’s in-house machine learning platform, a time-consuming procedure. According to Makani, the platform includes smart annotation capabilities that automatically label the various data points, allowing the neural network to experiment with millions of possible scenarios, achieving comparable performance to an edge device operating in real-world environmental conditions.
According to a 2020 McKinsey report, the freight industry is unlikely to witness the same level of year-over-year growth as it did last year, which was 30% greater than in 2019, but stated that some industries will develop at a faster rate than others. Commodities associated to e-commerce, agriculture, and food items, for example, will likely resume growth first, while electronics and automobiles will likely grow at a slower pace due to diminishing consumer demand for non-essentials.
Since the pandemic began, the company reported annualised growth of 70%, owing largely to expansion into new areas such as construction, oil and gas, food and beverage, field services, moving and storage, and agricultural. KeepTruckin anticipates an increase in demand and intends to use the additional funds to accelerate growth and hire additional talent to help advance its AI systems, including doubling its R&D team to 700 people globally with a focus on engineering, machine vision, data science, and other AI areas, according to Makani.
“We believe that packaging these products into operator-friendly user interfaces for non-technical users is critical, which is why we prioritise front-end and full-stack engineers with experience building incredibly intuitive mobile and web applications,” Makani added.
Much of KeepTruckin’s technology will eventually be used to power autonomous trucks, Makani believes, which is becoming increasingly important as demand for trucking continues to outpace supply of drivers.
“Level 4 and eventually level 5 autonomy will reach the trucking industry, but widespread deployment will take many years,” he stated. “Today, our AI-powered dashcam is making drivers safer and assisting in the prevention of accidents. While the promise of autonomy is true, we are committed to assisting businesses in seeing the value of this technology immediately.”