Plus (formerly Plus.ai), a global provider of self-driving truck technology, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp V (HCIC V), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company.
Upon closing, Plus will be a publicly traded company and its common stock is expected to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol ‘PLAV’. The transaction represents a post-combination market capitalization of approximately US$3.3bn for Plus upon closing.
Plus’s cutting-edge autonomous driving technology solution comprises three pillars, including: proprietary full-stack Level 4 software behind the decision-making required to drive the vehicle autonomously, safely and intelligently; a mass-production-ready, low-cost, high-performance hardware platform that enables a truck to drive autonomously; and a data engine that leverages real-world driving data to continuously upgrade algorithms and ultimately reach L4 autonomy.
PlusDrive uses advanced sensing technologies, including radar, lidar and cameras to provide a 360° sensing system. Data gathered through the sensors help the system identify objects nearby, plan its course, predict the movement of those objects, and finally control the vehicle to make its next move safely. Plus’s advanced multimodal sensor system solves vibration and long-range camera drift problems for mass production as well as adequately addressing adverse weather and lighting for commercial deployment.
The company plans to begin mass production of an autonomous driving solution, PlusDrive, starting in 2021 with FAW, the world’s largest heavy-truck manufacturer, which produced more heavy-duty trucks in 2020 than both the USA and European markets. In addition, Plus is working with some of the largest fleets in the USA and China to pilot commercial freight operations. The company is also working with IVECO, one of the top global truck manufacturers in the world, to jointly develop autonomous trucks that will be deployed across China, Europe and other geographies.
“All of us at Plus are inspired each day to help make heavy trucks safer and more comfortable, reduce operational costs for fleets and make our world greener. We are on track to start mass production of autonomous trucks this year,” said David Liu, CEO and co-founder of Plus. “This transaction enables Plus to continue growing our business globally, so that fleets and drivers can benefit from our revolutionary technology and usher in a new generation of innovation. At the same time, the transaction introduces a partner in HCIC V that shares our focus on sustainable technology and infrastructure, is aligned on our growth and value creation objectives, and recognizes the challenges trucking companies face today. We look forward to working closely with the HCIC V team as we move to commercial deployment and deliver value for drivers, customers and shareholders.”
“We are excited to partner with Plus on their mission to make long-haul trucking safer, cheaper and better for the environment,” said Daniel J Hennessy, chairman and CEO of HCIC V. “HCIC V was formed with the goal of merging with a company that provides sustainable technologies. While we evaluated a number of potential partners, Plus stood out for its unique AI-powered autonomous trucking technology, its partnerships with OEMs and world-class customers, and its strategic roadmap to start the broad commercialization of its intelligent transportation solutions today. We look forward to collaborating with David and his team of experts in automotive safety, self-driving technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, cybersecurity and product development, as Plus transforms the global freight market with a safe self-driving trucking system and creates shareholder value.”