Humatics Corporation, the company developing breakthrough “microlocation” products, today announced the completion of its $18 Million Series A financing. Fontinalis Partners, a venture capital firm focused on next-generation mobility technologies, led the round, with participation from Airbus Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, Intact Ventures, Tectonic Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Blue Ivy Ventures, Ray Stata, Andy Youmans, and others. The company will use proceeds from the financing to develop and commercialize the company’s high-precision microlocation system and analytics software – a Spatial Intelligence Platform™ that will revolutionize how people and machines locate, navigate and collaborate.
“Humatics is developing unprecedented new technology that will unleash the great potential of robotics and autonomous systems, enabling important tasks to be done safer, faster and more productively,” said Chris Cheever, co-founder and partner at Fontinalis. “Fontinalis was founded to invest in mobility technologies, and we believe precise spatial intelligence is essential to enhance mobility across many industries. We are very excited to lead this Series A financing and to partner with this exceptional management team and outstanding group of investors to accelerate Humatics and its valuable mission.”
“We founded Humatics to locate people, places and things in an increasingly connected world,” said David Mindell, co-founder and chief executive officer. “For robots, next-generation manufacturing equipment, drones, and other autonomous systems to safely and seamlessly interact with people and their environments, we need more precise and robust positioning. Our breakthrough system captures millimeter-scale position and motion data at low cost, indoors and out, creating an entirely new product category – microlocation.”
“We now are piloting our breakthrough microlocation system with key industrial automation and manufacturing partners,” said Gary Cohen, co-founder, president and chief operating officer. “For our partners and others, millimeter-scale precision can dramatically improve safety, efficiency and productivity, and create tremendous value. With the support from our Series A investors, we are completing product development and bringing the technology to market. Humatics expects to officially begin selling its microlocation system and licensing its Spatial Intelligence Platform™ in 2018.”
Humatics Spatial Intelligence PlatformTM
Today’s Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites and radio-based local area positioning technologies have limited precision, with uncertainties ranging from many centimeters to several meters. Camera-based systems are expensive and sensitive to lighting conditions. A single Humatics system, using simple, inexpensive radio-frequency technology, can pinpoint multiple, moving transponder targets at ranges up to thirty meters with millimeter-scale precision, vastly outperforming existing systems at a fraction of the cost. Systems can network together to provide broader, ultra-precise positioning coverage – from factory work cells, to entire distribution centers and beyond. The microlocation system and analytics software comprise the Humatics Spatial Intelligence Platform™. With its extensible architecture and application programming interfaces (APIs), the Spatial Intelligence Platform™ will power an ecosystem of new position-based products and services.
“Humatics’ innovative work in microlocation complements Lockheed Martin’s research and development efforts, particularly in transforming how humans and machines work together,” said Chris Moran, executive director and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures. “Working with Humatics, we will have the opportunity to shape this emerging technology for a broad range of defense and commercial applications that are important to our customers.”
Thomas d’Halluin, chief executive officer of Series A investor Airbus Ventures, added, “We see Humatics technology as no less than a tectonic shift in position and motion tracking. Its quantum leap in precision unlocks powerful potentials for a wealth of new applications – comparable to the first introduction of GPS.”
The Humatics Story
Humatics was founded in 2015 by David Mindell, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and the history of technology at the Massachusetts of Technology, and Gary Cohen, a technology industry veteran. Dr. Mindell, an expert on the relationships between human and robotic systems, was previously associated with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he developed and commercialized precision sonar technologies for undersea navigation.
Dr. Mindell recruited his mentors – oceanographer and explorer Bob Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic shipwreck, and Apollo astronaut Dave Scott, the seventh person to walk on the Moon – to serve as Humatics founding advisors.
“We developed precision navigation undersea to map our most treasured historic discoveries,” remarked Dr. Ballard. “Humatics has raised precision navigation above the water’s surface – to enable people and robots to collaborate on shared assembly tasks, to navigate driverless cars through crowded intersections, and to track next-generation Internet of Things devices. Humatics has the right crew to make this happen.”
Added Mr. Scott, “We relied on precision radar to rendezvous and land on the Moon. David and his team now are bringing a next-generation radio frequency product to new missions in industry and daily life.”
Humatics’ board of directors includes technology leaders with track records building profitable companies – including Series A investor Ray Stata, founder and chairman of Analog Devices; Chris Cheever, co-founder of Fontinalis Partners; Frank Moss, co-founder and chairman of Twine Health and a former director of the MIT Media Lab; and Tom Lee, professor of engineering at Stanford University and an expert on radio frequency integrated circuits.
“Humatics is developing one of those seminal technologies that can create markets,” said Mr. Stata. “I have been working with David and Humatics since its earliest days. One of the most difficult things for most startups is putting together the right team. Humatics covers all the bases with its world-class expertise.”
Stanford’s Tom Lee added, “I am particularly excited about progress toward the company’s longer-term product – a proprietary microlocation system-on-a-chip. Low-cost, tiny integrated circuits that deliver millimeter-scale positioning could take us beyond today’s Internet of Things, to a Humatics-enabled Internet of Everything that would connect a trillion devices.”
“Everyone is excited about the future of autonomous vehicles and robots,” said board member Frank Moss. “But before these technologies deliver their promise, we must develop a critical missing piece of the technology puzzle: more precise positioning. I am thrilled to be working closely with the Humatics team to commercialize its breakthrough microlocation system. The company’s Spatial Intelligence Platform™ features extensible architecture and APIs with the potential to support a broad array of third-party microlocation-based applications across many industries. Imagine the possibilities.”