ClearMotion Absorbs $100M for Tech That Delivers Smoother Car Rides

Investors have poured $100 million into ClearMotion, an MIT spinout that sees opportunity in the shift toward autonomous vehicles.

ClearMotion’s Series C funding round was led by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, along with New Enterprise Associates, Qualcomm Ventures, World Innovation Lab, and Eileses Capital. The Woburn, MA-based startup says it has raised more than $130 million from investors to date.

ClearMotion was founded in 2008 at MIT by then-undergraduate students Shakeel Avadhany, the company’s CEO; Zack Anderson, its chief commercial officer; and Vlad Tarasov, who is no longer with the company, according to LinkedIn. The trio originally called their company Levant Power. They developed a new type of shock absorber that could convert the absorbed energy into electricity and help reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption, as Xconomy previously reported.

ClearMotion is now marketing itself as a developer of “digital chassis” technology that improves the experience of riding in cars by enhancing vehicle handling and making potentially bumpy trips go more smoothly. It accomplishes this through actuators controlled by software that can read and respond to road conditions instantaneously, telling the actuators to push and pull the wheels at a high speed to compensate for potholes and other obstacles, according to a ClearMotion press release.

Software continues to play a bigger role in vehicle operations, as automakers and tech companies big and small rush to deliver fully autonomous vehicles. ClearMotion is among the Boston-area companies trying to advance the field in various ways.

“Self-driving functionality mandates a future in which cars afford not just driving pleasure, but the utility of a mobile office,” Avadhany said in a press release. “We are focused [on] the quality of time in autos and how we transform it by digitizing our relationship to the road, allowing software to control the dynamics of the car.”

J.P. Morgan Asset Management managing director Jonathan Ross has joined ClearMotion’s board with the investment.

“As the world continues to move toward connected, autonomous cars and mobility services, the next frontier of competition will be user experience,” Ross said in the press release.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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