Automotive Technology Supplier ZF Acquires Stake in Startup StradVision to Accelerate The Development of AI-Powered Perception Technology for Autonomous Vehicles
【Summary】StradVision, a company developing AI-powered computer vision technology for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), announced today that German automotive technology supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG ("ZF") has acquired a 6% stake in the company. As part of the investment, the two companies will expand their portfolios of perception technology for autonomous vehicles.
StradVision, a company developing AI-powered computer vision technology for autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), announced today that German automotive technology supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG ("ZF") has acquired a 6% stake in the company.
As part of the investment, the two companies will expand their portfolio of perception and safety technology for autonomous vehicles.
ZF is one of the world's largest automotive component suppliers. The company's products are found in many vehicles from the world's top automakers, including BMW and Toyota Motor Corp.
ZF offers a full portfolio of components and systems for active and passive safety technology, which more recently focuses on the four fields of autonomous driving, electromobility, integrated safety and vehicle motion control, including steering systems. ZF's autonomous driving technology also includes the ZF ProAI high-performance processor and vehicle software supporting ADAS and self-driving functions.
"The partnership with StradVision considerably extends our autonomous driving perception and sensor fusion capabilities," said Marc Bolitho, head of Engineering of the Electronics and ADAS division at ZF Group. "Together with our sensors, middleware platform and high-performance computing solutions, this vision perception software expertise from StradVision can provide a key component of our environmental sensor fusion for shuttles, commercial and light vehicles that can be optimized for centralized electrical architectures."
StradVision was founded in 2014 and has become an auto industry pioneer in AI-based vision processing technology. The company says its accelerating the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles by providing automakers including Mercedes-Benz with powerful perception technology at a fraction of the cost of its competitors.
StradVision developed its own computer vision software called "SVNet", which allows vehicles to accurately detect and identify objects, such as other vehicles, lanes, pedestrians, bicyclists, animals, road signs and traffic lights. The technology works even in harsh weather conditions or poor lighting.
Strandvision's software uses deep learning-based perception algorithms that rely on a relatively small amount of physical memory and have low power requirements. The software supports a wide variety of hardware platforms and can also be customized and optimized for other automotive safety systems.
StradVison's SVNet software also provides a depth-map solution using innovative "pseudo LiDAR" technology that replaces traditional laser-based LiDAR sensors, which are costly for automakers due to their high performance requirements. The technology mimics how traditional lidar scans an environment and has the potential to significantly reduce the use of costly lidar sensors for self-driving capable vehicles at scale.
The pseudo lidar technology offers high precision distance measurements of 3D objects using only a mono-channel camera. It essentially treats camera output as if it were lidar data.
"We are proud to count ZF as one of our strategic investors," said Junhwan Kim, CEO at StradVision. "Together with the global mobility specialist ZF, we will strive to speed up the market for autonomous driving with leading perception solutions."
StradVision continues to work with other automotive component suppliers on similar safety technology.
In Dec 2021, StradVision announced it has teamed up with LG Electronics on the development of an advanced vehicle instrument cluster platform based on augmented reality (AR). The two companies are working closely together on the development of LG Electronics' next-generation augmented reality solutions that offer drivers a higher level of safety.
The augmented reality head-up (AR HUD) instrument cluster projects information such as navigation and various ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) warnings to the windshield based on data collected in real-time through sensors installed on the vehicle.
In August 2021, StradVision announced it has established a subsidiary in Shanghai to help the company tap into China's rapidly growing market for autonomous driving technology. China is the world's biggest auto market.
In January, StradVision announced that it has established a new North American Headquarters in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The company says the new U.S. office will help it to better develop new market opportunities in the U.S. automotive industry.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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