Israeli startup TriEye, whose Short-Wave-Infra-Red (SWIR) sensing technology is able to see in adverse weather and night-time conditions, announced a $17M Series A funding round on May 28, led by Intel Capital.
Other investors include Marius Nacht, co-founder of Check Point Software Technologies, and TriEye’s existing investor Grove Ventures, headed by TriEye chairman Dov Moran, the inventor of the USB flash drive and co-founder of M-Systems.
TriEye’s high-definition (HD) SWIR camera, whose initial samples are expected to enter the market in 2020, is designed to save lives on the roads. The camera will allow Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles to achieve vision capabilities under common adverse weather and low-light conditions such as fog, dust or night-time.
In a statement, Avi Bakal, CEO and co-founder of TriEye, said, “Low visibility conditions such as fog, darkness and dust, and hazards such as black ice on the road, are some of the main contributors to injuries and fatalities in car crashes. In the U.S. alone, around 21 percent of all vehicle crashes – nearly 1.2 million annually – are weather-related and often involve low visibility. Our mission is to save lives, reduce risks of accidents in these kind of safety-critical conditions and do this in a very cost-efficient way.”
Visibility challenges are complicating impeding the wide-scale deployment and adoption of autonomous vehicle systems. Other companies are working to solve the problem, often using a combination of several sensing solutions such as radar, lidar and a camera.
Earlier this spring, autonomous trucking outfit TuSimple introduced a new vision system that addresses low visibility challenges such as instant light changes when entering and exiting tunnels, flaring during sunrise and sunset and headlight glare. It also handles the LED flicker created by digital signage and traffic lights.
The defense and aerospace industries have already solved the low visibility challenge by using SWIR cameras. However, up until now, these cameras have been too expensive for mass-market applications.
TriEye’s SWIR technology enables the scalable mass-production of SWIR sensors, allowing the company to produce an affordable HD SWIR camera in a miniaturized format and supporting easy in-vehicle mounting behind the car’s windshield.
TriEye was founded in 2016 by Avi Bakal, Omer Kapach and Uriel Levy after nearly a decade of advanced nano-photonics research by Levy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Since inception, TriEye has raised over $20 million, including a seed investment of $3 million led by Grove Ventures in November 2017. Bakal said the additional funding will be used to execute on the company’s product roadmap for HD SWIR solutions, including its proprietary sensing algorithms.
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.”