Munich-based startup Blickfeld has just received a $4.25m funding boost to help it in the development of its light detection and radar system (LiDAR).
LiDAR technology is touted by the automotive industry as being one of the key developments that will allow for vehicles to safely drive themselves. It works with light in a similar way to how radar works with high frequency radio waves. A LiDAR system builds a high-definition, three-dimensional geometric map that allows an autonomous system such as a drone or a self-driving car to perceive or ‘see’ the world around them in order to safely navigate and operate within it.
The main problem with LiDAR technology is that at present it is very expensive to produce, making mass market adoption a challenge. This is where Blickfeld has been able to differentiate itself. To produce its LiDAR systems, the company is using readily available off-the-shelf and silicon components. By using this method, the company is able to vastly lower the costs of mass-production, while still maintaining the standards and requirements set by OEMs.
By creating a LiDAR system that retains high quality while simultaneously being affordable for a mass market, it brings the prospect of autonomous vehicles a step closer to reality, and it has the potential to be widely adopted. Perhaps it is this scalability that has helped to attract the investors to the project.
This funding round was led by Fluxunit, the corporate venture capital arm of international lighting company OSRAM, European seed-stage investor High-Tech Gründerfonds, German venture capital Tengelmann Ventures, and venture capital investor Unternehmertum Venture Capital.
In a statement, Florian Petit, founder of Blickfeld, explained what the funding means to the company and what it will be used for. “We are thrilled to have concluded our seed financing round with such experienced partners. We are very much looking forward to the joint journey. The funds will be used to speed up our development and to enter first trials with automotive OEMs. We are planning to provide first systems to our OEM partners in early 2018. Our team will be expanded: We are especially looking for talent to join our Munich-based team.”
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