Seoul Robotics has taken a mixed path on the road to commercializing autonomous vehicles. Instead of developing and integrating a fully autonomous driving system, including sensors in the vehicle, Seoul is turning to the surrounding infrastructure to do some heavy lifting.
Its contradictory approach has attracted a new group of investors and $25 million in project funding. According to bots Seoul.
“Instead of outfitting vehicles with sensors, we’re outfitting the surrounding infrastructure with sensors,” Seoul Robotics Vice President of Products and Solutions Jerone Floor said in August when the company partnered with NVIDIA.
The company’s autonomous vehicle infrastructure platform is called Watchtower Level 5 (or LV5 CTRL TWR) along with branded Sensr software, it collects information from sensors such as cameras, lidar (light detection and range radar) as well as other data stored in the cloud and then sent to vehicles.
According to Seoul Robotics CEO Hanbin Lee, the LV5 CTRL TWR uses automatic transmissions and connectivity built into the vehicles to maneuver them independently without the need for hardware.
Seoul Robotics claims that the LV5 CTRL TWR helps provide information about the surrounding environment and chooses the safest route for the vehicle.
The infrastructure platform manages vehicle functions such as lane keeping and brake assist via its technology, called Autonomy Through Infrastructure (ATI) and the V2X (Vehicle to Everything) communication system, which sends information from the vehicle to any surrounding infrastructure and other vehicles.
He told me, “[With Autonomy Through Infrastructure (ATI), users can automate millions of cars parked with a few hundred sensors waiting][Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid[معالاستقلاليةمنخلالالبنيةالتحتية(ATI)،يمكنللمستخدمينأتمتةملايينالسياراتالتيتمرعبرساحةانتظارببضعمئاتمنأجهزةالاستشعار”[Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid
Founded in 2017 by four co-founders, Seoul Robotics now works with global manufacturers (OEMs) such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Qualcomm and LG Uplus to diversify its system.
“We are in discussions with about nine global OEMs now for partnerships,” he told me.
Lee also said that one of its unique features is that Sensr, launched in 2018, allows users to choose one or multiple sensors that best suit their needs, meaning customers can choose services based on their requirements and budgets.
“While Sensr remains largely the backbone of our product offerings, including the LV5 CTRL TWR, the types of solutions we offer are much more advanced than in 2018,” Lee told TechCrunch. “We are now offering three plug-and-play LiDAR development kits that include all the components needed for any organization to set up a 3D system.” In addition, it provides solutions tailored to a specific application, such as pedestrian safety, railroad obstacle detection, and Level 5 autonomy, Follow Lee.
He explained to me that the first LiDAR-based realization software was all developed by sensor manufacturers, and the software had to be linked to the hardware. “With this approach, the challenge has been that each sensor has different strengths and weaknesses; some have a wide but short range field of view, and some have a narrow, long range field of view,” Lee told me. “It is also not possible to mix and match the sensor we come with. mechanism.”
Last week, the company launched a feature that uses LiDAR and its Sensr software to detect and alert faulty driving conditions. Seoul Robotics says the fault-detection feature is being rolled out on highways and highways in California, Florida, and Tennessee, as well as in Europe and Asia.
With the latest funding, the startup plans to grow its team and expand Sensr’s applications to bring its robotic vehicle technology to other potential partners across industries such as logistics (car rental fleets, truck yards and automated valet parking systems), smart cities and security, Lee said. Other investors include Noh & Co., Future Play, Korea Development Bank, Artesian and Axis Ventures, and have also participated in Series B.
The company, which is headquartered in Seoul and has offices in Munich, California and Raleigh, raised $6 million in Series A in 2020.
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