Finnish autonomous driving technology developer Sensible 4 has raised $7m in the first phase of a Series A funding round.

The round was led by NordicNinja VC and ITOCHU.

Founded in 2017, Sensible 4 focuses on the development of autonomous driving systems that can operate in harsh weather conditions.

Sensible 4 cofounder and CEO Harri Santamala said: “We are very proud to have such strong investors joining Sensible 4 as shareholders. We are still one of the only companies in this field that can drive autonomously in all weather conditions.

“With the investment, we will be able to develop the technology to a level that allows us to integrate this to commercial use.”

With the new proceeds, the Finnish firm plans to fuel its expansion to European and Asian markets. The funding will also support the development of its software and enable the company to manufacture more GACHA buses, an autonomous shuttle unveiled last year.

Developed in collaboration with Japanese retail company MUJI, the GACHA buses are expected to be rolled out in Japan and China at the end of this year.

NordicNinja VC managing partner Tomosaku Sohara said: “The global autonomous driving solutions still struggle to work in particular conditions like heavy snow, fog or typhoons.

“Sensible 4’s approach based on their long-term research for autonomous driving is totally different from other existing approaches. Their unique technology enables any kind of autonomous vehicle to drive anywhere and anytime.”

Sensible 4 aims to double the investment amount in the funding round when it completes later this year.