Cognata Raises $5M to Test Driverless Cars on Virtual Roads
【Summary】Several venture capital firms participated in the round: Emerge, Maniv Mobility and Airbus Ventures. We know that Airbus is developing VTOL-powered flying cars and might be interested in applying this technology to its futuristic fleet of Vahana aircrafts.
From senior citizens to tech-savvy drivers, numerous groups worldwide are waiting for the release of SAE-L5, fully autonomous vehicles. But before this happens, the cars are required to acquire colossal amounts of experience in the form of miles driven on public roads.
Just how many miles do they need to accrue, you might be wondering?
According to a 2016 report published by Rand Corporation, that figure is a mind-boggling 11 billion miles. To clarify, since a fleet will all be using the same platform, several vehicles can work together to gather experience on open roads. But even with a team of 100 cars operating 24/7, it would take 500 years to reach that milestone.
Cognata, an Israel-based startup, has a plan to speed up testing for driverless cars. It plans to recreate live environments in a virtual setting, where developers can deploy their self-driving platforms without needing to install proprietary software in a traditional car. Earlier this month, the group raised $5 million in a funding round to help streamline its goals. The startup intends to use the fresh funds to boost product development and bring its solutions to automakers, OEMs and Tier-1 driverless car manufacturers.
Several venture capital firms participated in the round: Emerge, Maniv Mobility and Airbus Ventures. We know that Airbus is developing VTOL-powered flying cars and might be interested in applying this technology to its futuristic fleet of Vahana aircrafts. Testing flying cars in live environments will likely be a slow, painstaking process, which will start in rural locations before developers get the thumbs up from regulators to conduct pilot programs in urban cities (where they will ultimately be used).
"After extensive technical evaluation of the team and the technology, we look forward to using Cognata's technology, which can accelerate the time to market for land-based autonomous systems as well as the kind of aerial systems we are focusing on," said François Auque from Airbus Ventures.
Scalable and Cost Effective
Cognata will leverage a long list of cutting-edge technologies to make its stimulations as realistic as possible. This includes artificial intelligence, deep learning and computer vision. Data is gathered using the car's sensors and cameras. Developers have full control of the stimulation, allowing them to recreate rainy weather patterns, day or night conditions and unpredictable crowds crossing streets.
The cars don't have to be driving at the same pace as they would on public roads. Driverless vehicles could rack up millions of miles in just a few hours, according to CEO Danny Atsmon.
"Because we are creating things virtually, we can recreate full cities — even the cities where autonomous driving is not allowed yet. We can bridge that gap so that those cities will be more ready when they do allow it," said Atsmon.
Moreover, since the startup can recreate just about every city in the world, this solution is very scalable, catering to both new and mature autonomous driving platforms. Lastly, without needing to invest and manage a fleet of real cars, Cognata's testing stimulator is extremely cost effective.
Michael Cheng is a legal editor and technical writer with publications for Blackberry ISHN Magazine Houzz and Payment Week. He specializes in technology business and digesting hard data. Outside of work Michael likes to train for marathons spend time with his daughter and explore new places.
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