ComfortDelGro makes foray into high-tech ventures

ComfortDelGro said that the strategic investments in the start-ups are in the areas of on-demand bus technology, fleet management and autonomous vehicle safety testing.
ComfortDelGro said that the strategic investments in the start-ups are in the areas of on-demand bus technology, fleet management and autonomous vehicle safety testing.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Transport giant ComfortDelGro Corp, through its six-month-old US$100 million (S$137 million) corporate venture capital fund ComfortDelGro Ventures, has made three strategic investments in transport-related technology start-ups.

The company said on Tuesday (June 4) that the start-ups are in the areas of on-demand bus technology, fleet management and autonomous vehicle safety testing.

The first is an investment in home-grown Swat, a shared mobility technology company which took part in an on-demand bus trial here.

Part of the Goldbell engineering and transport group, Swat is working with ComfortDelGro to extend this shared mobility technology to other bus and taxi service fleets in Singapore and overseas.

"The first on-demand bus service overseas has already been launched in north-west Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, through ComfortDelGro's wholly-owned subsidiary, ComfortDelGro Corp Australia," ComfortDelGro said.

The second investment is in Haulio, a container trucking technology company incubated by PSA International's corporate venture capital arm, PSA unboXed.

The Singapore-based company helps match trucking-job demand with supply, helping trucking companies save time and resources "whilst improving visibility and reliability for end-customers".

The platform has more than 75 per cent of Singapore's hauliers onboard, with an outreach of over 2,000 trucks to date, according to ComfortDelGro.

"Given the similarities in vehicle fleet operations between container and passenger transportation, the synergies that Haulio bring fits into ComfortDelGro's intention to expand beyond passenger transport," ComfortDelGro, which operates buses, trains and taxis, added.

The third investment is in an Israel-based autonomous vehicle safety testing and compliance technology company called Foretellix.

Founded by veterans from the semiconductor testing industry, it is focused on developing solutions to bridge the gap between current vehicle testing standards and "the eventual stringent measurable safety and compliance requirements that autonomous vehicles will need to fulfil for full commercialisation".

 
 
 
 

The group said this investment is being held by its testing services subsidiary, Vicom.

It will work with Foretellix to look at introducing such a service in Singapore and other Asian markets.

ComfortDelGro chief executive Yang Ban Seng said: "Even as we continue to look at ways to grow our existing businesses, we are pursuing strategic investments in new and emerging technology start-ups which bridge the gap between what is, and what could be.

"We are building a new wing beyond the core passenger transport business."

Other technology start-up investments being assessed include opportunities that impact ComfortDelGro's core businesses, including vehicle electrification, autonomous vehicle fleet management systems, as well as adjacent disciplines such as smart logistics, artificial intelligence, cyber security and robotics.

In addition to the investments, ComfortDelGro said it will be involved in innovation-sourcing initiatives and incubating new mobility business concepts and technologies.