Clearpath raises $30M to expand indoor self-driving vehicle market
October 6, 2016
Funding from iNovia Capital, Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures and previous investors will expand AC Grad’s new OTTO Motors division
Clearpath Robotics, a leading provider of self-driving vehicle solutions, announced today the completion of a $30 million (USD) investment led by iNovia Capital with participation from Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, Eclipse Ventures, RRE Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
Clearpath will use the funding to grow the company’s industrial division, OTTO Motors. Clearpath launched OTTO Motors in 2015 to focus on self-driving vehicles for material transport inside manufacturing and warehouse operations.
“Factories operate like small indoor cities, complete with roads, traffic, intersections and pedestrians,” said Matt Rendall, CEO and co-founder of Clearpath. “Unlike city streets, a factory floor is a controlled environment, which makes it an ideal place to introduce self-driving vehicles at scale. Companies like Google, Tesla and Uber are still testing, whereas our self-driving vehicles are commercially available today.”
Companies including GE and John Deere have deployed OTTO’s material handling equipment in their facilities.
“The market for self-driving passenger vehicles will be over $80 billion by 2030,” Rendall said. “We believe the market for self-driving materials handling vehicles will be equally significant. Clearpath has a big head start, and this new funding will allow us to further accelerate the development of the best self-driving software in the industry – and bring more OTTOs into the world faster.”
“Software-differentiated hardware will disrupt every major sector over the next decade,” said Karam Nijjar, Partner at iNovia Capital. “Self-driving vehicles are already revolutionizing transportation. Clearpath has built a world-class team, technology and customer base to accelerate that vision. Clearpath isn’t just building the factory of the future; they are laying the foundation for entirely new business models enabled by artificial intelligence, autonomy and automation.”
Manufacturers need flexible and efficient automation more than ever due to rapidly changing market demands. The U.S. alone anticipates a shortage of more than two million skilled manufacturing workers over the next decade. Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly demanding ethically sourced, domestically made products. OTTO Motors’ self-driving indoor vehicles help fill the labor gap while providing manufacturers an affordable way to keep or return operations onshore. Clearpath is helping create a new industry and category of domestic jobs developing, servicing and working with their self-driving vehicles.
“Clearpath is developing exciting self-driving vehicle technology for industrial environments,” says Michael Young, Director at Caterpillar Ventures. “We look forward to collaborating with Clearpath to drive efficiency gains in Caterpillar facilities.”
Clearpath previously raised $11.2 million (USD) in a January 2015 Series A round led by RRE Ventures with participation from iNovia Capital, GE Ventures and Eclipse Ventures to develop their OTTO product line. Officially launched in 2009, Clearpath’s founders established the company by participating in a U.S. Department of Defense-funded robotics competition to design a robot that could detect and remove land mines. With help from a $300,000 angel investment the following year, the team pivoted from mine removal to providing unmanned vehicle development platforms for the global research community. After launching the first OTTO product in September 2015, Clearpath established its OTTO Motors division to focus on self-driving vehicles for materials handling.
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