Kitchener-Waterloo

Clearpath Robotics raises $14M in venture capital

Kitchener's Clearpath Robotics has raised $14 million in funding, part of which will be used to improve software that could potentially turn regular vehicles into self-driving cars.

Kitchener company will focus on software to make regular vehicles autonomous

The Husky unmanned ground vehicle, created by Kitchener`s Clearpath Robotics. The Husky is being used in research by the Canadian Space Agency and the University of Toronto. (Clearpath Robotics)

Kitchener's Clearpath Robotics has raised $14 million in funding, part of which will be used to improve software that could potentially turn regular vehicles into self-driving cars. 

The company, which was started in 2009 by four University of Waterloo graduates, received the funds from RRE Venture Capital, with support from iNovia Capital.

"It means we're much more able to invest in the potential we've seen in robotics," said co-founder and CTO Ryan Gariepy. "We've seen a lot of potential for robotics to bring more–to really change the way people work, and with this funding we're now able to accelerate how we can get that stuff done." 

Clearpath makes unmanned robotic vehicles, including land vehicles like the Husky and the Grizzly and aquatic vehicles like the Kingfisher. It's clients include the Canadian Space Agency and the Department of National Defence. 

Ryan Gariepy, the chief technology officer of Kitchener-based Clearpath Robotics. (Andrea Bellemare/CBC)

Lately Clearpath has also been focusing on software development, which can open up new markets according to Gariepy, .  

"For companies, as you could imagine, in mining, in agriculture, or even in materials handling, who have dump trucks who have tractors, who have forklifts, that they already have the vehicles, now we can just provide them the software to make their existing vehicles the equivalent of self-driving cars for instance," Gariepy said.

The company currently employs 80 people. With the additional funding, Gariepy said he expects to hire up to an additional 50, about half of which will be engineers, and add Stuart Ellman, RRE's managing partner, to the board of directors. ​​

In a release, the company reiterated its commitment to ethical robot production and emphasized a focus on increasing quality of life. This comes after Clearpath joined Human Rights Watch in August to take a stand against killer robots, also known as autonomous weaponized robots. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now