Autonomy player SafeAI secures funding to accelerate mining vehicle platform

SafeAI has secured $5 million in funding to accelerate development of its autonomous vehicle platform for the mining and construction equipment industry. SafeAI is partnered with Doosan Bobcat and is already operating an autonomous Bobcat skid steer loader at their test site in San Jose, California. SafeAI says it is working closely with mining and construction customers to deploy a safety-first,robust, and flexible autonomous platform across entire fleets of vehicles.

Recent developments in AI have advanced the capability of autonomous vehicles to a level of sophistication and capability now commonly seen on roads and highways. “SafeAI is adapting these advances to meet the unique requirement of mining and construction sites. Large vehicle manufacturers have demonstrated that autonomy can improve safety, decrease costs, and increase productivity with early generation technology. Now, mining and construction customers require a technology that is designed for their needs.”

SafeAI says its open, modular, and upgradable architecture will allow mining customers to operate multiple types of equipment from various suppliers on one standard platform. The company’s solution allows customers to utilise an autonomous solution for specific tasks to immediately improve safety, reduce costs, reduce downtime, and increase productivity.

SafeAI believes that it is uniquely positioned to provide safe autonomous solutions to the end customers in mining and construction. The team includes technologists from Caterpillar, Ford and Apple who have long history of taking autonomous and AI technology to production. Bibhrajit Halder, SafeAI’s CEO, believes the technology has reached a tipping point to introduce what he calls “Autonomy 2.0” to the mining & construction industry.

“Advances in machine perception and a sharp decline in hardware costs are now enabling autonomous mining and construction vehicles to deploy at scale. What took 10 years of R&D, we’ve completed in less than a year,” said Dr Halder. “Our team of experienced autonomous engineers are taking the latest technology from autonomous car projects and deploying them in the real world of mining and construction. These companies have already seen the benefits in safety and productivity and are eager to quickly deploy the next generation of Autonomy 2.0.”

The company announced the close of a $5 million dollar round led by Autotech Ventures with participation from Brick & Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, and existing investor Monta Vista Capital. Dr Alexei Andreev, Managing Director at Autotech Ventures, joined the Board of Directors. Autotech Ventures and Brick & Mortar Ventures are both value-add investors for SafeAI with several strategic limited partners in the heavy vehicle and construction sectors, respectively.

“We see a long horizon to passenger car autonomy,” stated Andreev. “We also believe that the amazing advances in technology and talent from those companies will spill over to off-highway use cases where the ROI has already been proven. In construction and mining, we observed a fundamental shift from OEM-led proprietary autonomy to end customer-led autonomy that better serves their unique needs.”