SafeAI, a developer of autonomous solutions for heavy equipment, has raised $38 million in its Series B round of funding with key investors including Builders VC, McKinley Management, George Kaiser Family Foundation, and Energy Innovation Capital.
Additionally, Moog Inc joined the round as a strategic investor. SafeAI retrofits construction and mining vehicles with aftermarket hardware and proprietary autonomy software that delivers significant gains in increased worksite productivity, safety and cost savings.
The company will use the funding to accelerate their autonomous vehicle technology roadmap, and to scale operations globally to service and deploy their growing customer base.
Heavy industry is an enormous global market. Based on data from Australia Mining Consultancy and Parker Bay Mining, the mining equipment industry alone is valued at close over $18 billion and expected to grow at a 7 percent annual growth rate.
But, the industry is threatened by productivity inefficiencies, safety issues and delays that derail project timelines and budgets. Autonomy addresses these issues head-on by delivering greater efficiency and 24/7 productivity – yet, less than 5 percent of mining vehicles worldwide are leveraging it.
SafeAI is designed to meet this significant and increasing demand. With its scalable retrofit approach, SafeAI enables off-road heavy equipment owners to convert – not replace – aftermarket vehicles and fleets with autonomous technology, regardless of manufacturer or vehicle type.
This scalable approach is critical to supporting accessibility and faster deployment of autonomous technology, and in reducing the barriers to entry to a wider swath of market participants.
Mark Blackwell, general partner at Builders VC, says: “There is a massive opportunity for autonomous technology within heavy industry; we believe SafeAI is the company to lead the charge.
“SafeAI has developed their solution for scale and impact in a highly addressable off-road market that has an immediate need and proven traction. With a solution that is more broadly accessible to the industry, yet still powerful enough for the largest mining companies, SafeAI is set up to deliver industry transformation at scale.”
With the new capital, SafeAI is focused on scaling their global operations team to support their growing customer base and on delivering contractual milestones.
In addition, the company will continue advancing development of its industry-leading autonomous technology solution and investing in its developer and engineering teams, with a particular focus on hiring top-tier talent within the autonomous vehicle engineering space, including a chief technology officer to lead the efforts.
SafeAI is also expanding its global footprint into new geographies to meet the growing demand for off-road autonomy.
Joe Baldi, director of strategy and partnerships for the construction sector of Moog Inc, says: “Moog Inc is focused on enabling productivity, safety and sustainability when performance really matters. Our autonomy solutions transform equipment into high integrity robots, enabling autonomous operations in challenging environments.
“Through this investment in SafeAI, we can collaborate to accelerate the adoption of autonomy for heavy equipment and help companies across construction and mining realize the benefits to their operations”
The funding comes on the heels of a year of momentous growth for SafeAI, including partnerships with MACA to deploy 100 mining trucks, Siemens on a collaboration for vehicle electrification and autonomy, and Obayashi Corporation on developing solutions for construction.
SafeAI has also continued to expand its staff within the US, Australia, Japan and India, more than doubling its headcount in 2022 to over 90 people.
Additionally, the company grew its executive team this year to spearhead the next chapter of growth with new hires Anil Rachakonda, senior vice president (SVP) of strategy and partnerships, Sudhanshu Singh, senior vice president (SVP) of global operations, and Rob Song, chief financial officer.
Bibhrajit Halder, founder and CEO at SafeAI, says: “Autonomy has existed in mining for more than two decades – but its growth has stalled when it needed to skyrocket. I founded SafeAI to change that.
“We’ve designed a flexible, interoperable, scalable retrofit model to enable companies across heavy industry to uplevel their operations. The mining industry has been successfully implementing Autonomy on a limited scale for years.
“Our approach is purpose-built to finally accelerate autonomous accessibility and deployment on a significant scale. This funding is just the beginning of our next chapter of expansion and growth.”
Existing investors Autotech Ventures, Brick & Mortar Ventures, Embark Ventures, Newlab, and Vimson Group also invested in the new round of funding.