AI / Autonomous tech / Funding / Investing / Robotics

Following a $228M Series A, autonomous vehicle company Robotic Research is ready to hit the accelerator

The Softbank-led round will help the Clarksburg, Maryland company build out its commercial operations and hire locally.

Robotic Research's self-driving vehicle fleet. (Courtesy photo)

In the final days of the fourth quarter, Maryland autonomous vehicle company Robotic Research landed a huge investment round backed by Softbank.

Marking one of the largest deals of the year, the 20-year-old robotics company landed a $228 million Series A round for its commercial arm. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Englightenment Capital led the round, with participation from Crescent Cove Advisors, Henry Crown and Luminar. The Clarksburg, Maryland-based company primarily builds self-driving vehicles for the commercial and agricultural sectors, specifically those that will continue to operate off-road.

For Robotic Research, this means scaling up all its operations, Don Lefeve, head of corporate affairs, told It will specifically put the funding towards expanding and industrializing its commercial development.

“We saw the investment to really expand, industrialize and deliver,” Lefeve said. “It’s really to expand Robotic Research to meet our customer needs and expand our workforce to meet those needs and to industrialize our technology, which means scaling and bringing it to the commercial market at mass scale.”

The investment and growth comes after a period of strength for the company, despite things like supply chain shortages that have slowed many manufacturing efforts worldwide. Lefeve said that the company has expanded to 200 employees, adding about 60 in the past year, and plans to continue its growth with the new funding. Lefeve said Robotic Research will have all manner of openings in 2022, including engineering, sales, marketing and deployment positions.

The strong growth in 2021, Lefeve said, was largely due to customer demand, signaling a strong push for the industry as a whole. While he noted that autonomous vehicles is still a young industry, it’s one that he thinks has a strong — and not-so-far-off — future. He expects the industry to continue its momentum in 2022 and 2023, with mass commercial adoption in 2024 and 2025.

“We’re still in our infancy, but companies like ours are definitely paving the way and are showing that autonomy can help save companies money, it’s an investment,” Lefeve said. “And, obviously, the safety impacts of it are just tremendous.”

Over the past few years, Robotic Research has found strong success in its Maryland home. Last year, it began testing autonomous shuttles in Clarksburg and in 2019, it won a $16.5 million task order to supply tracking tech to the army.

Companies: Robotic Research

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


How to encourage more healthcare entrepreneurship (and why that matters)

A year later, this Congress Heights retail space for Black founders continues serving up fresh food, apparel and beauty products

Howard University’s Black Commerce Conference doubles in size for its return on Juneteenth

Find out what type of heat wave you’re really in for with NOAA’s HeatRisk dashboard

Technically Media