Micromobility startup Voi has raised $45 million, funds it says will be used to research and develop technology that will improve safety, keep users from riding on sidewalks and ensure scooters are properly parked.
The funding comes a month after Voi launched a pilot in Northhampton, U.K. with Irish startup Luna to test how computer vision technology might be used to solve parking and sidewalk riding issues. The R&D spending will include “pioneering the use of computer vision software to prevent pavement riding,” according to a statement released by the company.
“We are leading the way in that technology — we want to embrace that technology, like Luna, to make available next year on our fleet for the masses,” a spokesperson for Voi told TechCrunch, who also noted the company is open to outfitting its e-bikes with computer vision technology.
The Voi spokesperson told TechCrunch the company is happy with the progress it has made to date and is exploring its own proprietary technology, which could include acquiring Luna. No decisions or acquisitions have been made so far, but Voi is also investing in its next-generation scooter. It’s possible that the next vehicle comes with computer vision built in, rather than retrofitted to the stem.
Voi, which already has scooters in 70 cities across the U.K. and Europe, is aiming to expand. And technology that solves parking, safety and sidewalk clutter is viewed by Voi as key to winning city partnerships and maintaining the ones it already has.
Voi is also using the funds to work on the sidewalk parking problem by adding physical parking racks. On Wednesday, Voi installed 100 parking racks in Stockholm in agreement with the city. Voi already has over 300 physical parking racks in the U.K.
Voi uses a swappable battery system that’s popular with other operators like Lime and Spin, which means the racks are just there for keeping scooters out of the public right of way. Voi says having physical racks will help “create a sustainable service for cities and the people living in them.”
This latest round brings Voi’s total funding to $205 million. The round was led by The Raine Group, and existing investors like VNV Global participated alongside new investors. The company did not specify who those new investors are.