SafeAI secures funding from strategic investors Obayashi and Foundamental for its autonomous heavy equipment solutions

3 min readApr 7, 2020


Autonomous Skid-Steer at SafeAI Proving Ground
Autonomous Skid-Steer at SafeAI Proving Ground (SPG)

SafeAI, a company that retrofits heavy equipment for autonomous applications in the mining and construction industries, is announcing a strategic investment from Obayashi Corporation, one of Japan’s largest construction companies, and Foundamental, the global investor in construction and mining technology.

The construction and mining industry has been facing a global labor shortage over the past decade. The recent COVID-19 outbreak only exacerbates the labor shortage and adds labor uncertainty to these two critical industrial sectors for the global economy. The ability to deploy labor-saving, productivity-increasing autonomous solutions on existing equipment already on-site offers the option for customers to immediately address these pain points without massive capital expenses.

SafeAI collaborates closely with its construction and mining customers to deploy autonomous equipment at the site to provide significant improvements in productivity, safety, and efficiency. SafeAI ensures the improvement journey is holistic and not dominated only by the technology itself. The company applies project management disciplines to define and deliver solutions. They deploy their perception, path planning, and AI algorithms alongside dozens of partnerships with drive-by-wire, lidar, camera, GPS, WiFi, LTE, security, and more. The autonomous solutions are built on top of their SafeAI Framework (SAF) — a highly flexible, safety-certifiable framework that meets standards developed for the rigorous requirements of the automotive industry.

The team has experience working on all types of vehicles and equipment, from passenger cars to pickup trucks to skid steer excavators to some of the large haulage vehicles used in mining.

SafeAI Team Working on Autonomous Haul Truck for Mining
SafeAI Team Working on Autonomous Haul Truck for Mining

Adam Zobler, Partner at Foundamental, said: “An open, full-stack autonomous platform proffers value to the mining & construction industry, and is an inevitable evolutionary pivot. We believe SafeAI is best positioned to shepherd, accelerate & lead its evolution, correlating highly with its strong founder-market fit as off-highway autonomy demands deep technical expertise in addition to rich domain experience. We are very pleased to join Bibhrajit & the SafeAI team in their journey.”

Hiroto Sato, COO & CFO at Obayashi SVVL, Inc., said: “The market of autonomous solutions for existing heavy machines is one of the “Emerging Business Opportunity” for the construction industry. Obayashi supports SafeAI not only as an investor but also as a strategic partner by providing our experience in operation at construction sites.”

Bibhrajit Halder, Founder, and CEO of SafeAI said, “We strongly believe that collaboration with the ecosystem and tighter integration across systems is the key to accelerating autonomy in mining and construction. I am very pleased to partner with Obayashi Corporation and Foundamental and greatly appreciate the support. We are excited and looking forward to a long journey into the future together.”

Obayashi Corporation and Foundamental join existing Silicon Valley-based firms, Autotech Ventures, a transportation-focused VC firm, Brick and Mortar Ventures, a construction-focused VC firm, Embark, a technology-focused VC firm, and Monta Vista.

About Obayashi

Obayashi Corporation has delivered solutions to infrastructure challenges across the globe. Founded in 1892, Obayashi has provided a full range of general contractor services in both public and private works such as Tokyo Central Station, Kansai International Airport, TOKYO SKYTREE, Dubai Metro project, Jewel Changi Airport, and Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge. Other services include R&D, design, urban development, maintenance, and renewable energy.

About Foundamental

Foundamental is the global investor in construction and mining technology with offices in San Francisco, Singapore, and Berlin. Foundamental is currently in its second fund generation investing in extraordinary tech companies in construction and mining across the globe. Learn more at

About SafeAI

Milpitas, CA, based, SafeAI, retrofits heavy equipment for autonomous applications in the mining and construction industries. SafeAI autonomous technology enables equipment owners to transform existing machines into self-operating robotic assets. SafeAI’s mission is to accelerate the transition to autonomous mining and construction.




Accelerating the Transition to Autonomous Mining and Construction