UPDATED 07:00 EST / OCTOBER 27 2021

EMERGING TECH

Tactile Mobility reels in $27M for its virtual vehicle sensor technology

Startup Tactile Mobility Ltd., whose platform uses data from vehicle sensors for tasks such as identifying road hazards, today said it has closed a $27 million funding round led by Delek Motors to enhance its technology and expand into more markets.

Israel-based Tactile Mobility has received a total of $47 million from investors to date.

Autonomous vehicles rely on lidar equipment, radar systems and other sophisticated sensors to navigate the road. Most cars on the market today don’t ship with such advanced hardware. However, numerous vehicles do feature other kinds of sensors that are used for simpler tasks than autonomous driving, such as monitoring the temperature of a vehicle’s engine. 

Tactile Mobility has developed what it describes as a virtual sensing platform that turns data from commonly used vehicle sensors into useful insights for automakers and other companies. The platform consists of two main components. The first is a compact hardware module that can be attached to one of a vehicle’s onboard computers. The other is a cloud-based data analytics engine.

The hardware module collects data generated by a car’s sensors, then sends it to the cloud-based analytics engine, which crunches the information to find useful patterns. In the background, Tactile Mobile automates the numerous preparatory tasks involved in turning raw sensor data into a form that lends itself to analysis. 

Tactile Mobility says its platform can help automakers monitor vehicle health. By analyzing the sensory logs a car generates, the platform infers details such as braking efficiency and the condition of the tires. This information is useful for maintenance purposes and also lends itself to developing partially autonomous driving features such as adaptive cruise control, the startup says. 

Tire manufacturers can benefit from the technology too, Tactile Mobility argues. The startup’s platform makes it possible to track tire wear patterns across a large number of vehicles and identify potential risks. The same information can help product development teams identify opportunities to more effectively optimize products for specific driving conditions.

Tactile Mobility sees market opportunities outside the auto sector supply chain as well. The startup provides features that enable municipalities to track road health using the data collected from vehicle sensors and identify potential hazards. For added measure, Tactile Mobility has developed algorithms that automatically rank hazards by severity, which helps municipalities and road authorities to prioritize repair efforts.

Insurers, meanwhile, can use the startup’s data to inform their underwriting practices. 

“Connected and autonomous driving are key to the future of people and goods movement. For improved safety and efficiency of connected and autonomous driving, tire data is key,” said Abhijit Ganguly, managing director at Goodyear Ventures, which also participated in Tactile Mobility’s new round.

Tactile Mobility will use a portion of the capital to expand its platform with more  “virtual sensors,” software tools that use the data collected by a vehicle’s sensors to glean new operational insights. The startup also has plans to enhance the cloud component of its platform.

“We have the opportunity and potential to not only participate in, but also shape the future of the mobility industry,” said Tactile Mobility Chief Executive Officer Shahar Bin-Nun (pictured, left, with Chief Technology Officer Boaz Mizrachi). “With this funding, Tactile Mobility will be able to bring its innovative solutions to more markets, integrating our suite of virtual sensors into vehicles in new regions, and enhancing entire cities worldwide with our unparalleled insights.”

Tactile Mobile says its technology is used by automakers such as Porsche AG and BMW AG, as well as municipalities and road authorities across several countries.    

Photo: Tactile Mobility

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