European micromobility giant, TIER, has just acquired Fantasmo – a US-based tech firm. This forms part of TIER’s plans to enhance scooter safety and parking systems – making micromobility a popular choice for all road users.
TIER’s mission statement is to change mobility for good, and they are certainly doing so. Founded in 2018 with HQ in Berlin, the startup is now operating in over 185 cities across Europe and the Middle East with its range of shared, light electric vehicles. The firm has been making a series of strategic acquisitions recently consolidating its position as the micromobility provider of choice in Europe – including Wind Mobility in Italy, Spin, Makery and nextbike from Leipzig. This is on top of the massive €172 million made in October of 2021.
The acquisition of Fantasmo marks the beginning of a new phase – introducing computer vision-powered e-scooter parking as part of a commitment to invest in tackling irresponsible parking, sidewalk riding and tandem riding, helping to create a safer environment for all road users.
Matthias Laug, CTO and co-founder of TIER, said: “The acquisition of Fantasmo is another example of our continuous investment in innovative features and technologies that make e-scooters more compliant and safer for all road users. From the very beginning we’ve been hugely impressed by Fantasmo’s Camera Positioning System, which allows us to directly address the concerns of vulnerable road users when it comes to how e-scooters are parked. Our plan is to expand the positioning technology to numerous cities in Europe and the Middle East in the near future and at the same time invest in the upcoming computer vision-powered rider assistance system.”
The US-based company is replacing GPS with cameras to improve the ability of machines to understand the world around them. Fantasmo has already earned a world-class reputation with its Camera Positioning System (CPS), a new positioning technology that is ten times more accurate than GPS and can validate e-scooter parking within 20cm or less.
Unlike other solutions that use GPS tracking, Fantasmo’s unique technology provides an extremely accurate representation of vehicle location, even in dense urban environments where the GPS signal does not work reliably. Paired with the vision sensor, TIER’s new IoT platform will create the most advanced ARAS system to date.
Fantasmo builds 3D maps of cities by foot, walking, for example, over 2,500 km of Paris streets with its camera. Because Fantasmo maps cities at the ground level, its positioning technology is considerably more accurate than satellite-based GPS. As with TIER’s previous parking system, any user attempting to park in a no-go area, or outside of a designated parking bay, will not be able to end a ride. The feature requires no additional parking infrastructure from cities – only a completed 3D mapping of the city in question.
With this purchase, TIER will help to bring order to city streets and protect vulnerable road users including visually impaired people, by using technology to stop users from parking in a no-go area. This will also help to address challenges such as sidewalk riding and tandem riding and further ensure TIER e-scooters set the standard for city compliance.
At the same time, TIER is planning to introduce a new computer vision-based driver assistance technology that can detect traffic violations and collisions as well as reckless riding on the scooter. Riders who do not follow the rules and regulations will be alerted to their offences and may even be fined or banned. The new technology is currently being tested privately and will be rolled out in cities around the world in the coming months.
It’s all part of the wider aim to promote mobility that is sustainable and safe for all. TIER is now raising the bar for safety standards in the industry. In Paris, TIER has been using Fantasmo’s 3D mapping tech since spring 2021 and is so far the only provider with a proven technology-based solution to tackle irresponsible parking.
Jameson Detweiler, President and co-founder of Fantasmo, said: “We have been working with TIER closely for over a year, and have experienced firsthand their commitment to be the best micro-mobility platform for cities, citizens and riders. We are excited to continue on this journey together as we continue to expand our CPS powered parking validation technology and into the future by bringing that technology and advanced rider assistance systems directly onto vehicles. We are confident that with TIER’s operational and vehicle experience and Fantasmo’s computer vision technology, we can ensure micro-mobility vehicles, pedestrians and everyone else will be able to exist together harmoniously.”
The total amount of the purchase price and financial details of the transaction haven’t been disclosed. However, it’s been shared that TIER will retain all 15 of Fantasmo’s highly skilled experts in Europe and in the US.