Tier Mobility’s purchase of Fantasmo brings home camera positioning technology – MovieUpdates

Shared micromobility company Tier Mobility said Wednesday it has acquired Fantasmo, a US-based computer vision-powered e-scooter parking startup whose tech Tier had trialed in multiple cities in Europe.

Tier will bring in all 15 Fantasmo employees and continue to invest in and develop what will now be an internal Camera Positioning System (CPS) technology that the company says is more accurate than GPS and can mark e-scooters within 20 years. validate. centimeters or less.

The acquisition signals both Tier’s commitment to reducing the effect of “public nuisance” from scooters parked on sidewalks, and the ongoing pattern of strategic acquisition to either vertically integrate capabilities or obtain more land and vehicles.

Neither company would share the terms of the deal, something we’ve come to expect from Tier. This is the Berlin-based company’s fourth purchase in five months, each as financially mysterious as the last. In November 2021, Tier bought German bike-sharing startup Nextbike and in December it acquired Wind Mobility’s Italian e-scooter business, Vento Mobility. More recently, Tier acquired Spin from Ford, marking its entry into the North American market.

Tier has implemented Fantasmo’s card solution over the past year to eliminate irresponsible parking, first in Paris and later in other locations, including London, York, Düsseldorf and Leipzig. The CPS technology means riders use the camera on their phones to scan the area around where they parked the scooter, recording information such as patterns in buildings or signage to determine the vehicle’s position. That metadata is then compared to Fantasmo’s 3D maps to position exactly where the vehicle is.

According to Ryan Measel, co-founder and CEO of Fantasmo, Fantasmo has mapped about 20 to 25 cities, mostly in Europe and some in North America. With Tier’s support, that number is likely to grow, but not just in Tier’s favor.

Fantasmo has other micromobility operators in its portfolio, including Helbiz. Tier said it has no plans to break off relationships if the counterparty has an interest in continuing, and is committed to making Fantasmo’s technology widely available by expanding its R&D budget to accelerate development.

“We are going to use our service internally, but also offer it as a service to other operators with the idea that this could be a solution for cities in general and take the entire market to the point where it can meet compliance needs,” Measel told MovieUpdates.

This means that Tier will not only benefit from bringing Fantasmo’s technology on board, but may also be able to add another revenue stream by selling the service to other operators or applications.

The ADAS trend for scooters deepens

Most major players in the industry are currently testing or implementing a version of scooter ADAS that not only protects against bad parking, but also against inappropriate driving. For example, Superpedestrian last year acquired Navmatic to integrate the company’s hyper-accurate location-based technology, which can also detect and correct unsafe driving. Bird developed a similar technology in-house.

On Wednesday, Tier also announced its plans to introduce a new computer vision-based driver assistance technology that can detect traffic violations and collisions, as well as reckless scooter riding. This technology is powered by Fantasmo’s CPS for high positional accuracy and centimeter-level mapping, and is combined with a vision sensor and Tier’s new IoT platform.

“Riders who fail to follow the rules and regulations will be warned of their violations and could even face a fine or a ban,” Tier said in a statement. “The new technology is currently being tested privately and will be rolled out in cities around the world in the coming months.”

The company will no longer provide information about this “new technology,” such as what specifically is meant by “vision sensor” and how Tier’s new IoT platform would help facilitate it. However, the company said the new technology would not be part of any previous or current programs Tier is running with outside companies.

Now part of Tier again, Spin is working with Drover AI to implement computer vision technology that essentially involves tethering a camera to a scooter so it can “see” if it’s being driven in the correct lane, if it’s on a sidewalk or if it is parked incorrectly. Tier itself also has a similar program with Luna on the Dublin City University campuses.

Drover AI also denied working with Tier on a new project. When pressed, a Tier spokesperson replied that both partnerships are considered legacy, with no further or deeper integration planned or supported. Tier’s sole focus is to deliver its new internal solution with Fantasmo at scale next year, the spokesperson said.

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