Investments & Funding

Potential raises $2M for AI tech commercialization

Potential has secured an additional Canadian $2 million in funding to further commercialize its technology. This builds on two previous seed round commitments, for a total of $8.5M raised since May 2020. Potential Motors, a Canadian automotive tech company develops AI-powered off-road vehicles with self-driving capabilities for a safer and more thrilling experience.

Investors in the extension include returning partners Brightspark Ventures, Build Ventures and NBIF (the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation), with Farpointe joining for the first time. They join existing investors, including Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. 

The latest funding will propel the commercialization of AI-powered perception solutions in automotive, powersports, mining, and defense sectors. This follows several years of intensive R&D and strategic technical recruitment.

The company has already partnered with a major manufacturer of recreational off-road vehicles. They have delivered their first innovation project for a global automotive brand. They’re in dialogue with five other leading automotive companies for innovation programs in 2024. In Q2, they’re running another pilot project in the automotive sector, gearing up for widespread implementation in production vehicles.

The company’s core technology, named Terrain Intelligence, utilizes forward-facing sensors like cameras, radar, or lidar to analyze terrain features. These features include shape, incline gradient, surface type, obstacles, and more. The platform is capable of generating various outputs, ranging from providing data to drivers to making automatic adjustments in vehicle control, including drive mode, suspension, differential settings, torque levels, and beyond.

The system enables proactive control, anticipating hazards before they are reached. Unlike today’s driver assistance systems, which rely on reactive technologies such as wheel sensors.

They have designed their technology to run using conventional hardware, such as onboard cameras already found on nearly all modern vehicles. In fact, 75% of the feature set of Terrain Intelligence can be enabled with a single, standard onboard camera. Terrain Intelligence continuously improves through AI, evolving with each mile traveled, adaptable to vehicles of all sizes for optimal performance.

Sam Poirier, CEO at Potential: “Since 2018, Potential has been developing expertise in off-road environments, computer vision and AI, to make vehicles safer, faster, more agile and more comfortable in extreme environments. Our technology could be used in every single vehicle that rolls off the production line. Additionally, it could be applied in mission-critical, special purpose vehicles, as our solutions can improve outcomes on the road too. I’m so pleased to welcome back existing partners as well as new investors at this critical milestone in our journey.”

Mark Skapinker, Managing Partner at Brightspark Ventures: “When we first invested in Potential in 2020, we were excited by Sam’s vision of a future where software-defined vehicles are the norm. AI and terrain perception technologies play key roles in performance, safety, and efficiency.. These predictions are starting to become reality. By renewing our investment, we’re also renewing our vote of confidence in Sam’s leadership and Potential’s technology.” 

Jeff White, CEO at NBIF: “In Atlantic Canada, there’s potential for the development of export-ready advanced technology usable in vehicles worldwide. Sam has already built an impressive team and successful pilots. Our new funding commitment demonstrates the continued confidence we have in Sam’s vision and Potential’s opportunities.” 

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