Clearpath Robotics gets $30 million funding for industrial robots

October 5, 2016 11:17 AM EDT

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Clearpath Robotics has raised $30 million from backers including the venture arms of Caterpillar and its customer General Electric Co to expand its industrial robot business, the company said on Wednesday.

The funding will power growth at the Kitchener, Ontario-based company's Otto Motors industrial division, created last year to provide self-driving vehicles to transport materials around warehouses and manufacturing facilities.

The company said while the likes of Tesla, Uber and Google are testing autonomous vehicles for use on public roads, its industrial vehicles are already commercially available.

"Factories operate like small indoor cities, complete with roads, traffic, intersections and pedestrians," Matt Rendall, the company's chief executive, said in a statement.

"Unlike city streets, a factory floor is a controlled environment, which makes it an ideal place to introduce self-driving vehicles at scale," he added.

The company, which has said sales are roughly doubling every year, makes around 60 percent of its sales in the United States.

The funding round was led by iNovia Capital. Caterpillar Ventures, GE Ventures, Eclipse Ventures, RRE Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank also participated.

(Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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