Oxbotica raises $47m for driverless car software roll out

Oxbotica raises $47m for driverless car software roll out

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Oxford-based driverless car software developer Oxbotica has raised $47m (€38m) to boost its move into industrial systems.

The Series B investment brings the total raised $76m (€62m) and the company is deploying its autonomy software in industrial applications such as quarries ahead of rolling out in urban driverless cars and other vehicles in the future.

The funding round was led by bp ventures, and includes BGF, Halma, HostPlus, IP Group,Tencent, Venture Science, and funds advised by Doxa Partners. The company points to strategic investors in Australia, China, UK and the US for a global autonomy ecosystem and already works with suppliers such as ZF.

Oxbotica was founded in 2014 by Oxford University professors, Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner and develops a software platform providing what it calls Universal Autonomy. It is fast to deploy, low energy hardware agnostic autonomy and applicable to a vast array of vehicle types both on and off road.

“We have a vision, we have the technology, we have the team, we see the markets and we have the customers. Adding these high quality investors to this mix, means we can continue to accelerate Oxbotica, and change the way bits (software) move atoms (people and goods),” said Paul Newman, CTO and Founder of Oxbotica.

The technology supports Oxbotica’s horizontal model providing operators, integrators and manufacturers autonomous functions from a full software stack to individual components. The main platform, called Selenium, covers navigation, mapping, perception, machine learning and data export. The Caesium software covers driverless car fleet management. One of the key advantages is software efficiency, with the radar-based maps taking up around 10 megabytes to cover a kilometre rather than hundreds of megabytes, says Newman.

“This round of investment marks a key chapter in Oxbotica’s continued growth and pushes us forward in commercialising our autonomous software today, through key strategic go-to-market partnerships,” said Ozgur Tohumcu, CEO of Oxbotica. “The high-quality and global footprint of our investors cements our position as a leader in autonomy. We will use funds raised to accelerate the global deployment of our transformative technology.”

“We believe its software could accelerate the market for autonomous vehicles,” said Erin Hallock, bp ventures managing partner. “Helping to accelerate the global revolution in mobility is at the heart of bp’s strategy to become an integrated energy company focused on delivering solutions for customers.“

Original investors such as the UK IP group were also part of the funding round. “Two years after IP Group’s first investment, we are delighted to be able to welcome multiple value-adding investors to the share register. This substantial funding round will enable Oxbotica to move to the next stage, delivering those benefits in multiple applications across the globe,” said Jamie Vollbracht, Partner, Cleantech at IP Group.

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