Owl AI embraces a surge in regulatory support for pedestrian safety technology as PE investors perk up to the market
Written by Carolyn Vallejo, Middle Market Growth
Traffic safety has come a long way since seat belts were first introduced in vehicles in the mid-1900s.
From airbags to anti-lock brakes and lane assist, innovation has dramatically elevated driver and passenger safety.
But there has been a glaring omission within the market, says Chuck Gershman, president, CEO and co-founder of safety technology company Owl Autonomous Imaging (Owl AI).
“With occupant safety, the numbers are staggering in terms of how well the industry has done to make vehicles safer for drivers and passengers,” he tells Middle Market Growth. “But virtually no regulation or emphasis in the last 30 years has been put in place regarding pedestrian safety.”
Recent data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that death tolls on the road are rising. According to the agency, traffic deaths reached a 16-year high last year, with a 13% increase in pedestrian fatalities compared with 2020 figures.
Luckily, innovators are working to reverse that trend. Steve Sandbo, partner at private equity firm Vance Street Capital, says the traffic and pedestrian safety market today is awash with opportunity for investors that want to support its growth.
“Investors broadly have a variety of different options in terms of where to play in the traffic safety space,” he says. “It is a space with a lot of growth and increasing budgets that try to influence a lot of change.”
Owl AI occupies a different corner of the traffic and pedestrian safety market, in 3D imaging. The company completed its Series A funding round to the tune of $15 million earlier this year, led by State Farm Ventures.