Heavy industry is a sizable, expanding global market that is susceptible to disruption. Construction-related spending makes up an astounding 13% of the world’s GDP, or $11.5T; the market for construction equipment alone is currently valued at $140B and is projected to reach $175B by 2025.
Robotruck Converter in action
California-based heavy industrial equipment automation retrofitting startup SafeAI raised $21M in Series A funding led by Builders VC. New investors LTC, DG Ventures, MACA and Vimson Group, and existing investors Autotech Ventures, Brick and Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, Monta Vista Capital and Obayashi Corporation, also participated in the round.
The new funds will be used to accelerate research and development of the company’s interoperable autonomous technology, as well as to fuel global expansion to meet rising demand for autonomous heavy equipment.
The funding comes on the heels of a year of rapid growth for SafeAI, including new partnerships with Obayashi, Goodyear and Macnica, and expansion into Australia’s booming mining market.
“We are at a tipping point for autonomous heavy equipment,” said Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO at SafeAI. “We’ve proven that autonomy makes work sites significantly safer and more productive; now, we are on the cusp of mass adoption. Together with our valued partners, customers and investors, we’re poised to deploy autonomy in off-road industries like construction and mining, at scale, to rethink the way heavy industry operates.”
“There’s a tremendous amount of excitement in the autonomy space today; but it’s clear the biggest opportunity for this technology is off-road,” said Mark Blackwell, General Partner at Builders VC. “With its industry-leading autonomous software, scalable retrofit approach and partner ecosystem, SafeAI is uniquely poised to capitalize on this opportunity. We’re proud to support the company in its next chapter of growth as demand for autonomous heavy equipment continues to skyrocket.”
In order to meet the complex needs of a vast ecosystem of industry players, SafeAI, founded in 2017 by Bibhrajit Halder and Lalin Theverapperuma, retrofits heavy machinery for autonomous applications in mining and construction. SafeAI enables equipment owners to convert existing machines into autonomous robotic assets by developing a software platform with the most cutting-edge, industry-specific AI. Strategic investments have been made in SafeAI by Obayashi Corp. and Foundamental, and the company is currently based in Cupertino alongside Obayashi Corp.