Shared micro-mobility firm Tier Mobility said Wednesday it has acquired Fantasiaa U.S.-based computer vision-powered electric scooter parking startup, has been experimenting with its technology layer in a number of European cities.
Tier will bring together all 15 of Fantasmo’s employees and continue to invest in and develop what will now be the interior camera positioning system (CPS), which the company says is more accurate than GPS and can verify e-scooter markings within 20 minutes cm or less.
The acquisition demonstrates both Tier’s commitment to mitigating the “nuisance” effects of scooters parked on sidewalks and its continued strategic acquisition model to vertically integrate capabilities or acquire more land and vehicles.
Neither company will share terms of the deal, which is what we expect from Tier. It’s the Berlin-based company’s fourth acquisition in five months, each with as much financial mystery as the last. November 2021, Tier Acquired German bike-sharing startup Nextbikewhile in December it Acquires Wind Mobility’s Italian electric scooter business Vento Mobility. Recently, Tier bought the Spin from Fordmarking its full entry into the North American market.
For the last year, Tier has been implementing Fantasmo’s mapping solution to eliminate irresponsible parking, first in Paris and later in other places like London, York, Dusseldorf and Leipzig. CPS technology involves riders using cameras on their phones to scan the environment in which they park their scooters, taking information such as buildings or signage to determine the vehicle’s location. This metadata is then compared to Fantasmo’s 3D map to pinpoint where the vehicle is.
Fantasmo has about 20 to 25 cities, mostly in Europe, with some in North America, said Ryan Measel, co-founder and CEO of Fantasmo. With the support of Tier, this number may grow, but not only for the benefit of Tier.
Fantasmo has other micro mobile operators in its portfolio, including Helbiz. Tier said it does not intend to sever any relationship if the other party is interested in continuing, and is committed to making Fantasmo’s technology widely available by expanding its research and development budget to accelerate development.
“We’re going to take our service and use it internally, but also offer it to other operators as a service, the idea is that this can be a solution for general cities and elevate the whole market to a place where compliance can be met in a way Fashion in demand,” Measel told TechCrunch.
This means Tier can not only benefit from introducing Fantasmo’s technology, but also potentially add another revenue stream by selling the service to other carriers or apps.
Scooter ADAS trend deepens
Most of the major players in the industry are currently trialling or implementing some version of Scooter ADAS This not only prevents bad parking, but also inappropriate riding. E.g, Superpedestrian acquired Navmatic last year Incorporating the company’s ultra-precise positioning technology, it can also detect and correct unsafe riding behavior. Bird has developed similar technology in-house.
On Wednesday, Tier also announced plans to launch a new computer vision-based driver assistance technology that can detect traffic violations and collisions, as well as reckless scooter rides. The technology will be enabled by Fantasmo’s CPS for high localization accuracy and centimeter-level mapping, paired with vision sensors and Tier’s new IoT platform.
“Riders who do not follow the rules and regulations will be warned of their crimes and may even be fined or banned,” Thiel said in a statement. “This new technology is currently being tested privately and will be rolled out in cities around the world in the coming months.”
The company wouldn’t provide more information about this “new technology,” such as what exactly “vision sensor” means and how Tier’s new IoT platform will help make it happen. However, the company did say that the new technology will not be part of any previous or current plans for Tier to partner with outside companies.
Spin, now part of Tier again, is working with Drover AI to implement computer vision technology that basically involves strapping a camera to a scooter and letting it “see” if it’s riding in the correct lane, and if it’s in the right lane Improper parking on the sidewalk or.Tonier itself is working on a similar project with Luna on the Dublin City University campus.
Drover AI also denied working with Tier on a new project. When pressed, a Tier spokesperson replied that both partnerships are considered legacy and no further or deeper integration is envisaged or supported. Tier’s sole focus is to deliver its new in-house solution at scale with Fantasmo next year, the spokesperson said.