TECHNOLOGY

Oxbotica raises US$47M to speed mine automation

UK-based autonomous-vehicle software developer Oxbotica says US$47 million of new equity from British and offshore funds will help it speed commercial deployment of an “open autonomy software platform” for mining being developed with a Hitachi Construction Machinery business unit.

Oxbotica raises US$47M to speed mine automation

New investment from groups in the UK, USA, China and Australia was "an endorsement of Oxbotica's go-to-market strategy, deploying its autonomy software in industrial use cases in advance of rolling out in urban passenger transportation applications in the future".

The groups include UK-based BGF, IP Group, Halma and energy major BP; San Francisco-headquartered Venture Science; China's Tencent Holdings; and Australian super fund manager HostPlus. The Series B fundraising was also backed by funds advised by Doxa Partners.

Oxbotica was founded by Oxford professors Paul Newman and Ingmar Posner in 2014.

It describes flagship product Selenium as "a full stack autonomy system, the product of over 500 person-years of effort".

"Selenium has the ability to transform any suitable vehicle platform into an autonomous vehicle, both at prototype volume and at scale. It is a collection of interoperable software modules that allow the vehicle to answer three key questions: Where am I? What's around me? What do I do next?

"The ability to move all vehicles, irrespective of size or type, with the same autonomy system means a mine can be orchestrated in a way not currently available."

Erin Hallock, bp ventures managing partner, said in an Oxbotica statement the company believed Oxbotica's technology could "accelerate the market for autonomous vehicles".

Oxbotica said in June last year a memorandum of understanding had been signed with Hitachi unit Wenco on development of an "open autonomy solution for mining".

It said initial trials were underway and the two companies were "actively recruiting mining partners with appropriate testing grounds".

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