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Softbank is pouring $228 million into a self-driving company targeting markets that much bigger opponents haven’t touched

Robotic Research, cofounded in 2002 by CEO Alberto Lacaze and vice president Karl Murphy, is expanding its self-driving technology from military and defense uses into the needs of buses, trucks, and logistics through its commercial division, RR.AI. But Lacaze said what separates it from the other players tackling autonomous trucks for use on public roads is its focus on less regulated sectors. This includes off-road or dirt-road trucks, shuttles, and military and agricultural vehicles. 

“There’s a lot of applications you can deploy like that without having to fight regulators,” Lacaze told Insider. “We are concentrating on those areas because they are the markets that are available right now.” 

SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Enlightenment Capital-led investment will enable the company’s commercial division, RR.AI, to scale and provide an end-to-end autonomy solution for transportation and logistics markets.

“Our plan is to out deploy most companies, at least in the verticals that we’re working on,” Lacaze added.