Israeli startup TriEye, whose Short-Wave-Infra-Red (SWIR) sensing technology is able to see in adverse weather and night-time conditions, has announced a $17M Series A funding round, led by Intel Capital. Since inception, TriEye has raised over $20M, including a seed investment of $3M led by Grove Ventures in November 2017.
TriEye’s HD SWIR camera, whose initial samples are expected to enter the market in 2020, is designed to save lives on the roads. The company claims that the camera will allow Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles to achieve ‘flawless vision capabilities’ under common adverse weather and low-light conditions such as fog, dust or night-time.
Other approaches to solve this low visibility challenge are said not to have been successful. Even when combining several sensing solutions such as radar, lidar and a camera, it is impossible to accurately detect and identify objects such as a cyclist at night under common adverse conditions. This limitation, says TriEye, is impeding the wide-scale deployment and adoption of ADAS and autonomous vehicles. The defense and aerospace industries have already solved the low visibility challenge by using InGaAs-based SWIR cameras. However, up until now, these cameras have been too expensive for mass-market applications.
Similar to a common digital camera, TriEye’s SWIR technology is CMOS-based, enabling the scalable mass-production of SWIR sensors and reducing the cost by a factor of 1,000 compared to current InGaAs-based technology. As a result, the company says that it can produce an affordable HD SWIR camera in a miniaturized format, supporting easy in-vehicle mounting behind the car’s windshield.
Intel Capital Israel’s Managing Director Yair Shoham, who joined TriEye’s board, added: “As the automotive industry transitions to autonomous driving, demand for sensor technologies is expected to grow rapidly. TriEye technology has the potential to enhance traditional camera functionalities by increasing performance in low visibility conditions in a way that complements vision-based camera sensor technologies. Intel Capital is delighted to support the TriEye team as it works to deliver on its vision.”