Wednesday, April 01, 2020

LiDAR News: Blickfeld, Cepton, SiLC, Velodyne, Espros

Munich, Germany-based LiDAR start-up Blickfeld completes its Series A financing round led by the VC unit of Continental together with Wachstumsfonds Bayern, with participation of the existing investors Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, TEV (Tengelmann Ventures) and Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners. Blickfeld will use the new financial resources to ramp up production, qualify its LiDAR sensors for the automotive market and strengthen the application development and sales teams for industrial markets.

The safety of autonomous vehicles is based on LiDAR sensor technology. We see Blickfeld in a unique position here, as our technology stands out due to its mass market capability,” says Blickfeld co-founder Florian Petit. “But the mobility sector is not the only area of application for our LiDAR sensors and recognition software: Numerous other successful customer projects in logistics, smart cities or the security sector confirm our approach, as does the financial commitment of the venture capital unit of Continental, Bayern Kapital and our previous investors. We are now looking forward to taking the next steps into series production.

The start-up Blickfeld, founded by Mathias Müller, Florian Petit and Rolf Wojtech, has grown to a team of now over 100 people since it was founded three years ago.

Mission publishes an interview with Cepton CEO Jun Pei:

"In the next decade or two Lidar will be just as common as cameras. The third dimension gives you an extra piece of data that’s critical while also removing a concern. Jun explains that there are more concerns with privacy when dealing with cameras. Lidar doesn’t have that issue because it doesn’t worry about facial recognition or color. It doesn’t measure the privacy-related data that people have issues with.

So with that said, the future is not about improving accuracy, it’s more about cost, reliability, and deployment in applications.

PRNewswire: SiLC Technologies, the developer of single-chip FMCW LiDAR, closes $12M in seed funding led by Dell Technologies Capital and joined by Decent Capital, ITIC Ventures, and several angel investors. SiLC will use the funding to scale its R&D and operations to develop its FMCW silicon photonic 4D+ Vision Chip platform.

The announcement follows a successful demo of the fully-integrated FMCW chip able to detect objects smaller than one and a half inches at a range of nearly 200 meters, translating to an effective resolution of around 0.01 degrees vertically and horizontally. This level of performance capability can enable a vehicle traveling at highway speed to stop or avoid objects at more than 200 meters range, a critical aspect of autonomous vehicle navigation and safety.

"This is my third startup and by far the most exciting, both at a technology level and the size of the markets it addresses. We believe we have an opportunity to transform several industries," said Mehdi Asghari, founder and CEO, SiLC. "Our 4D+ Vision Chip technology will not only make LiDAR a commercial reality but will also enable applications ranging from robotics to AR/VR to biometric scanning."

Here is the SiLC CEO presentation at AutoSens Brussels 2019:

TechBriefs interviews Velodyne CEO Anand Gopalan about the challenges in autonomous car design:

"On the autonomous side, there are two things that are very challenging. The first is that you are dealing with the tyranny of corner cases. There are a lot of critical corner scenarios that autonomous vehicles have to deal with, which require a lot more innovation in software, sensor, and computing hardware. For example, say you have an autonomous robo-taxi that has dropped a pedestrian at a curbside and now needs to pull back into the main traffic. It needs to make sure everything around the vehicle is safe: the passenger has moved away from the vehicle, there are no bicyclists zooming by, vehicles trying to pull in — all sorts of things you might not encounter in just riding down the street. People are dealing with what I call the tyranny of corner cases by sometimes modifying software and in some cases going back to the drawing board in terms of hardware.

The second aspect is speed. Fleets of vehicles are being deployed in some very dense urban environments, driving at 30 miles per hour or so. But in order to make a viable car you need to go to at least 40 to 45 miles per hour. This introduces many new challenges in terms of perception as well as speed of reaction.

Autosens publishes Espros CCD LiDAR presentation by Beat De Coi, Founder and CEO, in Brussels:

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