RoadBotics, a tech startup that focuses on standardizing road assessment by using computer vision AI, has raised $7.5 million in Series A round of funding led by Radical Ventures.
According to Crunchbase data, the Pittsburgh-based artificial intelligence startup closed this early stage fundraising series today, with capital investments by Radical Ventures, Hyperplane Venture Capital and Wharton Alumni Angels.
Founded in late 2016 by a team of Carnegie Mellon robotics researchers, RoadBotics aims at revolutionizing the way governments and engineering firms maintain paved roads by simplifying the data collection process and applying machine learning algorithms (AI) to automate the road rating process.
During the two and a half years the infrastructure tech company has been around, it has served 150 customers in 23 U.S. states and 11 countries. With a fresh infusion of funds, Mark DeSantis, the company CEO and one of its co-founders, is confident RoadBotics will spread out in the future.
“This fresh capital, together with Radical Venture’s vast network and AI domain expertise, will enable us to grow even faster, and ultimately to extend our reach into other vertical markets,” said DeSantis said to PR Newswire.
“No one understands the impact deep learning is and will have on the management of large-scale public infrastructure like the Radical team who previously built their own deep learning company. They share our vision of AI helping to create a safer, better future,” he added.
Radical Ventures is a Canadian venture capital company that mainly invests in tech firms and entrepreneurs who are developing deep tech with the goal of disrupting massive industries. It launched a $350 million AI fund in May.
“We’re excited to be part of the RoadBotics journey,” said Jordan Jacobs, co-founder and Managing Partner of the fund. “Maintaining roads has an enormous financial cost – hundreds of billions of dollars globally each year, mostly borne by governments and thus taxpayers. Assessing roads has been done the same way for thousands of years – people riding around and subjectively determining what to fix and when. It’s a broken system.”
Jacobs believes that RoadBotic’s simple-to-use computer vision system has the potential to cut costs, reduce vehicle damage, and ultimately save lives thanks to its objective assessments of the state of paved roads. “RoadBotics is a perfect example of Artifical Intelligence fixing an enormous global problem,” he added.
Christoph Mertz, Chief Scientist at RoadBotics, got the idea to start the company while working as a researcher at the Carnegie Mellon University Navigation Laboratory— an early hub for the application of machine vision to the autonomous navigation.
“I thought we could use this tech to assess the roads on which our autonomous vehicles drive,” Mertz. Soon after setting up RoadBotics, he co-founded the company with Benjamin Schmidt, Courtney Ehrlichman, and Mark DeSantis.