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article imageLiDAR start up receives $45 million in funding

By Tim Sandle     Oct 21, 2018 in Business
The Shenzhen-based LiDAR technology firm RoboSense has completion an investment round to the tune of $45 million. This makes this China’s biggest single round of financing ever for this type of automotive technology.
The investment into RoboSense came from a variety of key car industry and technology leaders. These investors include Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Ltd, which is the supply chain and logistics arm of the Alibaba Group. Also entering into the deal were the automotive companies SAIC Motor Group and the BAIC Group electric vehicle company.
RoboSense is a disruptor in the autonomous car technology space and it is also a company that is growing fast, boasting over 50 percent of all LiDAR sold in Asia. This makes RoboSense the market leader in the region. All this from a company that is just two years old.
Previous finance rounds have seen inputs from other Chinese automotive manufacturers, financial firms, and artificial intelligence companies. The addition of the new funding will be help RoboSense to further invest in research and development of autonomous vehicle technologies and to raise its market share.
LiDAR is a surveying method which assesses the distance to a target by illuminating the intended target with pulsed laser light. In-built technology then measures the reflected pulses via a sensor. The technology then assesses the differences in laser return times and wavelengths to construct a digital 3-D representation of the target.
This is based on the equation:
Distance = (Speed of Light x Time of Flight) / 2
In terms of the research and development technologies, one area that RoboSense is working on is solid-state LiDAR, plus artificial intelligence sensing algorithms, together with other forms of product development.
The investment in LiDAR is timely, according to industry analysts IHS Markit. The company predicts that by 2035, sales of self-driving cars around the world will be at 21 million vehicles. This will be a dramatic growth curve, given that the number of autonomous vehicles in 2025 is only expected to be around the 600,000 mark. Moreover, in 2035 a further 76 million vehicles are expected to have some form of autonomy built-in.
Commenting on this, Mark Qiu, co-founder of RoboSense told Smart2Zero: “The development of autonomous vehicles has ignited a huge demand for Lidar.”
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