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Superpedestrian: This MIT spin-off raises $125M to become ‘Volvo of e-Scooters’

Image credits: Superpedestrian

Globally, hundreds of cities are making efforts to solve the transportation crisis amid rising gas emissions, traffic congestion, and other factors. 

Consequently, micromobility services are emerging as a powerful alternative as more people are looking for environmentally friendly, open-air transit commutation. 

The micro-mobility concept is not entirely new, considering we have grown up seeing thousands of bicycles. But, the rapid adoption of micro-mobility services in recent times has left a gap in safety regulations. 

Besides, micromobility operators face several key challenges, including cluttering and diminishing vehicle life span.

Spun out of MIT in 2013, Superpedestrian is addressing all these issues with its smartest and safest light electric vehicle fleets.

Raised $125M

The US transportation robotics company announced that it has raised $125M in debt and equity capital.

The latest capital comes from 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. 

The new capital injection will enable the company to expand the LINK shared e-scooter service, accelerate its advanced R&D programs, and deploy scooters with its new Pedestrian Defense safety system in the first 25 cities across the US and Europe during 2022. 

Pedestrian Defense safety system 

Pedestrian Defense safety system is an AI-based software that fuses data from multiple vehicle sensors and integrates them with the scooter’s onboard Vehicle Intelligence to take real-time action on the scooter.

The safety system can precisely detect vehicle position even in urban canyons where GPS has high inaccuracy. 

It can also detect a much wider array of unsafe riding behavior than any competitor, including sidewalk riding, stunt riding, aggressive swerving, and “salmoning” against traffic.

The system also intervenes automatically to slow or stop a scooter in real-time when unsafe behavior like riding on a sidewalk is detected. Further, it can detect potential problems such as battery fires, short circuits, or failed brakes, and take corrective action to avert damage.

Following successful field tests, the system will now be integrated into Superpedestrian’s LINK e-scooter fleet, which has launched in 57 cities logging tens of millions of miles.  Check out the video below:

Video credits: Superpedestrian

Tansportation robotics company

Founded by Assaf Biderman, Superpedestrian develops technologies for micro-electric vehicles that optimise safety, reliability, and performance. The company claims that it has spent over five years developing its proprietary Vehicle Intelligence system – Pedestrian Defense safety.

“Over the past 9 years, we have developed a unique software platform that addresses the core challenges of electric vehicle fleets. From predictive maintenance and repair automation to fine-grain location and curb management, our platform is rich with advanced capabilities that enable safer and more reliable transportation solutions,” said Assaf Biderman, founder, and CEO of Superpedestrian.

Image credits: Superpedestrian

In 2020, Superpedestrian debuted the LINK Scooter, heralded as “The Volvo of e-Scooters” for its patented Vehicle Intelligence platform that prevents costly mechanical and electrical hazards.

The company has over 40 patents in autonomous failure protection for vehicles, automated maintenance software, fleet optimization, and vehicle context awareness.   

“Superpedestrian brings together best-in-class vehicles, an advanced software platform, and efficient fleet operations, enabling them to safely integrate small electric vehicles into crowded city streets,” said Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Investment Manager for Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) and CEO and Chief Investment Officer for Innovation Growth Ventures (IGV). 

“In the last two years, infrastructure challenges and lack of equitable access to transit options in both urban and suburban communities across the U.S. have underscored the need for developing safe, reliable transportation options for all,” said Meredith Shields, Head of Citi Impact Fund, Citi. “Superpedestrian is doing just that by developing innovative, sustainable technology that reimagines the future of cities through improved connectivity. We’re proud to use our capital to help scale their impact and build stronger communities in the years to come.”

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