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Porsche Ventures Invests in Israeli Vision Sensor Start-up TriEye

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【Summary】Porsche Ventures, the venture capital arm of German automaker Porsche which focuses on investments in the mobility space, has announced an investment in Israeli sensor company TriEye. The company is developing Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) imaging solutions for autonomous vehicles and other applications.

Eric Walz    Aug 22, 2019 5:17 PM PT
Porsche Ventures Invests in Israeli Vision Sensor Start-up TriEye

Porsche Ventures, the venture capital arm of German automaker Porsche which focuses on investments in the mobility space, has announced an investment in Israeli-based vision sensor company TriEye.

TriEYE is developing Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) imaging solutions for autonomous vehicles and other applications. The company's infrared sensors offer a higher level of perception in low light conditions.

TriEye's core product is the Raven Short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera. The camera incorporates a low-cost, but highly efficient complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor, which offers better visibility in darkness, fog, or other inclimate weather.

Low cost CMOS senors are used today in smartphone cameras and other small electronics. However, TriEye combined SWIR technology with a CMOS image sensor so it works in low light conditions. 

The invisible infrared wavelength is not affected by weather and the technology allows the Raven camera to "see" in darkness similar to the way night vision goggles work. TriEye's infrared Raven camera offers a resolution of 1280x960 at 30 frames per second.

Automakers currently developing autonomous driving and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) are turning more to SWIR technology to supplement the current self-driving sensor suite of cameras, radar and lidar for better night visibility.

The low cost TriEye Raven can integrate with existing advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle (AV) architecture and can use existing computer vision algorithms according to the company.

TriEye said incorporating CMOS technology reduces the cost by a factor of 1,000 compared with current indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) technology, making them affordable for production vehicles at scale. 

Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG said TriEye is led by an exceptionally strong team with experience in the areas of nano-photonics, deep learning and the development of semiconductor components.

"We see great potential in this sensor technology that paves the way for the next generation of driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions. SWIR can be a key element: it offers enhanced safety at a competitive price." Stenier said in a statement. 

TriEye was founded in 2017 by Avi Bakal, Omer Kapach and Uriel Levy. The company's Raven is based on almost a decade of advanced research in nano-photonics performed by Professor Levy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Levy serves as TriEye's CTO.  

Bakal believes that improving perception in poor conditions is a big challenge for developers and reducing the costs and increasing effectiveness will assist in bringing autonomous capability to more vehicles and at scale.

"Our mission is to save lives and reduce risks of accidents in all weather and lighting conditions", Bakal said in a statement. "The expansion of our Series A round and the addition of Porsche as a strategic investor serves as a further proof that SWIR is a critical component in the necessary sensor fusion solution to enable safer and better advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles."

Porsche Ventures investment in TriEye is part of the current Series A financing round. Intel Capital led the round with Israeli venture capital fund, Grove Ventures, in which Porsche has also held shares since 2017, increasing its existing investment in TriEye.

TriEye will use the new funding for product development and to expand relationships with its automotive partners.


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