Startups

Autonomous AI startup Overland AI grabs $10 million for off-road self-driving military vehicles

In the face of ongoing threats to soldiers in war zones, Seattle-based tech startup Overland AI is stepping up with a mission to minimize these risks using autonomous vehicles. With a focus on autonomous vehicles for high-risk environments, Overland AI is developing advanced autonomous ground mobility solutions for complex and contested off-road settings.

Today, Overland AI announced it has secured $10 million in seed funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Shasta Ventures, Ascend VC, Pioneer Square Labs, Voyager Capital, and Cubit Capital. This financial boost will help the company expand its workforce, enhance research and development efforts, and advance the testing and refinement of its OverDrive software for autonomous navigation in challenging terrains.

As wars rage on everywhere except for probably Antarctica, the demand for autonomous off-road capabilities is rising, especially in the defense sector, where new technologies are rapidly being adopted to enhance safety and operational effectiveness. Overland AI is at the forefront of this movement, providing solutions that could revolutionize military logistics and operations.

In addition to the seed funding, Overland AI secured a $18.6 million contract in April from the U.S. Army and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU). This funding is aimed at adapting Overland’s OneDrive technology. This versatile, vehicle-agnostic system enables autonomous navigation in off-road terrain under various environmental conditions, reaching a speed of up to 45 mph.

Overland AI is also making strides in advanced capability development through its involvement in Phase II of the DARPA RACER program. This phase focuses on demonstrating the OverDrive technology in realistic terrain, integrating it into heavy-tracked platforms similar to future robotic and optionally manned combat vehicles including lightweight wheeled vehicles currently in use.

“We are dedicated to advancing ground vehicle autonomy to support national security and reduce risks for our warfighters,” said Byron Boots, co-founder and CEO of Overland AI. “This funding will accelerate our development and help us create high-performance ground autonomy software for uncrewed vehicles in any contested terrain.”

The team at Overland AI brings extensive expertise in off-road autonomy. Before founding the company, they worked on similar challenges in a research capacity. Byron Boots, who also serves as the Amazon Endowed Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, leads the team. His Robot Learning Lab has been at the forefront of new machine-learning approaches to robotics and control, collaborating with the U.S. Army Research Lab and DARPA over the past decade.

Founded in 2022, Overland AI is quickly establishing itself as a leader in autonomous ground mobility for complex off-road environments. With a team boasting decades of experience in machine learning, robotics, and autonomous systems, the company’s OverDrive software represents a significant advancement in autonomy. Their innovative approach—rapid iteration, field testing, and swift incorporation of new advancements—transforms autonomous land operations, making them safer, more reliable, and more resilient.

As Overland AI continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible in autonomous vehicle technology, the company is poised to make a lasting impact on national security and the broader field of autonomous systems.

Overland AI


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