Yamaha announced a $2 million investment in an American company developing connected vehicle technology. The financial injection was part of a total $22 million in Series B funding raised by Silicon Valley’s Veniam Inc. from investors including Verizon and Cisco.
Co-founded by Zipcar’s original chief executive officer Robin Chase, Veniam develops wireless mesh networking technology to allow communication between vehicles and infrastructure (or, as the company calls it, “the Internet of Moving Things”.
Traditionally, the main focus on vehicle-to-vehicle technology is to increase safety and reduce transportation fatalities. Veniam is trying to take things a step further, with applications including fleet vehicle management, infotainment and advertising systems, and WiFi internet access for passengers. Essentially, Veniam is trying to turn every vehicle into its own WiFi hotspot. The company is currently testing its work in Porto, Portugal, with what it calls the world’s largest network of connected vehicles. The new funding will enable Veniam to expand its work with plans to establish mesh networks in New York, Singapore, Barcelona and London.
“The convergence of urban mobility systems, IoT wireless technologies, geo-referenced data, and soon the autonomous vehicle, is completely disrupting the way we transport people and goods,” said João Barros, founder and CEO of Veniam. “Veniam is proud to lead this convergence by expanding wireless
coverage and data services for people, vehicles and moving things, thereby generating new pplications, revenue streams and business models for telecom operators and the Industry 4.0.”
For Yamaha, Veniam’s technology fits into the company’s plans for connected vehicle technology. Last October, Yamaha joined BMW and Honda to form the Connected Motorcycle Consortium to develop motorcycle-to-motorcycle communications technology. The funding comes from a new Yamaha subsidiary, Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley Inc., which seeks out potential investment targets such as Veniam.