Superpedestrian announced today closing its largest-ever funding round, adding $125 million in debt and equity capital to the scooter company. The MIT spin-off says it will use the funds to expand the Link shared e-scooter service, boost R&D, and deploy more advanced scooters that utilise AI.
Superpedestrian has programmed said AI to build what the company calls a Pedestrian Defense system. It detects unsafe riding behaviours, e.g. riding on sidewalks or prohibited zones, and automatically slows down the scooters. The software fuses data from multiple vehicle sensors and integrates them with the Vehicle Intelligence already onboard “to take real-time action,” according to Superpedestrian.
Scooters coming with the more advanced AI will be rolled out in the first 25 cities across the US and Europe during 2022. However, the statement did not include the names of any of these cities.
So far, Link scooters are available in 57 markets in Europe and the US. The expansion is in line with targets the company set last summer.
For the investment round at hand, Jefferies, Antara Capital, the Sony Innovation Fund by IGV and FM Capital, alongside existing backers like Spark Capital, General Catalyst and Citi via the Citi Impact Fund, took part.
“Link is the only e-scooter available today with the technological capacity to run the Pedestrian Defense system,” said Jean Andrews, Policy Director of Superpedestrian for UK and Ireland. In the UK particularly, such safety features, i.e. advanced geofencing, are becoming requirements in city tenders.
While Voi and others have also started to look into similar systems, Superpedestrian may indeed be ahead of the curve.
“Over the past 9 years, we have developed a unique software platform that addresses the core challenges of electric vehicle fleets,” said Assaf Biderman, founder and CEO of Superpedestrian. The company’s background coming from MIT’s Copenhagen Wheel certainly came in handy.
The company has since launched the Link e-scooters with its Vehicle Intelligent Safety (VIS) system. The onboard software, combined with five processors and 73 sensors, allows VIS to detect and respond to hazards in milliseconds, says Superpedestrian.
“With this latest funding round, we are boosting our investment in R&D and scaling up our deployments in micromobility and beyond,” added Biderman, unfortunately without yet going into further detail.
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