German autonomous car tech company Blickfeld has obtained $4.25 million in seed funding, to help develop its near-field LiDAR technology.
The company wants to develop a low-cost light detection and range sensor that can identify oncoming obstacles faster, to prevent accidents.
LiDAR is one of the most important safety aspects of autonomous car technology and with Blickfeld’s cash injection, it could make driverless cars much cheaper to build.
The comany received funding fro a number of big investment firms including Fluxunit (part of the lighting company Osram), High-Tech Gründerfonds, Tengelmann Ventures, and Unternehmertum Venture Capital (UVC) Partners.
The group of investors are some of the most well-known driverless car tech investors in the biz. For example, Tengelmann Ventures has previously invested in Uber (presumably for some of its driverless car tech) and UVC Partners has also spent cash on automated transport, such as connected mobility provider Vimcar.
The money will help Bickfeld further develop its sensors, which use scanners to create “high-definition, three-dimensional geometric maps.” This apparently “closes the gap between today’s high-cost systems and the automotive mass-market needs.” The sensors can be created using off-the-shelf parts and silicon, rather than the company having to create the pieces from scratch, which brings the price down substantially.
It’s thought making the sensors commercially available to autonomous car manufacturers could result in trials of the technology next year, as it seeks to show the industry just becase it’s new technoogy, doesn’t mean it has to cost the earth.
“We are thrilled to have concluded our seed financing round with such experienced partners,”Florian Petit, founder of Blickfeld, explained. “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.”