Acquisitions / AI / Business / Startups

Pittsburgh’s RoadBotics just got acquired by Michelin

The CMU spinout uses artificial intelligence to map the status and condition of a region’s infrastructure. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

RoadBotics' platform assessing roads. (Courtesy photo)
Update: Comment from a Michelin spokesperson and total RoadBotics employee count have been added. (7/15/22, 11:30 a.m.) Mention of cofounder Courtney Ehrlichman's role has been added. (7/21/22, 3:35 p.m.)

East Liberty-based RoadBotics has been acquired by French tire manufacturing giant Michelin.

The 2016-founded Carnegie Mellon University spinout specializes in using artificial intelligence to map the status and condition of a region’s infrastructure through visual and other data inputs. Its signature AI platform RoadWay has provided over 250 governments across the world with new assessment and management capabilities for their roads, per the company.

RoadBotics is led by cofounders Benjamin Schmidt, Ph.D., who is CEO, and Christoph Mertz, Ph.D., who is chief scientist. (Previous cofounder and CEO Mark DeSantis is now heading Bloomfield Robotics, and cofounder Courtney Ehrlichman is a strategic advisor to RoadBotics and CEO of The Ehrlichman Group.) The company has previously raised $11.4 million in venture capital.

RoadBotics’ Schmidt in 2017. ( photo)

In a sparse press release on the news, Michelin said the deal would further Michelin DDi (or “Driving Data to Intelligence”), an initiative focused on preventative road safety, by incorporating RoadBotics’ computer vision technology. The service will be available in North America first before heading to Europe, the firm said.

“This new acquisition is in line with Michelin’s growth strategy around tires,” said Lorraine Frega, Michelin’s EVP of distribution, services and solutions, strategy, innovation and partnerships. “With the acquisition of RoadBotics, Michelin strengthens its expertise in artificial intelligence supporting a smarter and safer mobility. Combining its unique knowledge of tire/vehicle uses, driving behavior analysis and RoadBotics’ computer vision expertise, Michelin is enriching its services and solutions offer portfolio to road managers helping them to optimize and secure road networks.”

An email from a RoadBotics marketing rep sharing the press release noted that the acquisition occurred “after much hard work and perseverance.”

A spokesperson for Michelin declined to disclose financial details of the deal. RoadBotics’ 26 employees will join Michelin’s Mobility Intelligence Business arm, the spokesperson said, and Schmidt will be named CTO of RoadBotics “so that he may focus on the technological vision of RoadBotics and implement the integration of our platforms, which is crucial for bringing more value to our clients.”

This past May, in honor of 10 years of Infrastructure Week, RoadBotics highlighted 10 case studies it’s performed with 10 different customers using its AI-powered mapping technology. See some of them here.

Companies: Roadbotics

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