Intel Capital has led a $17 million round into TriEye Technologies Ltd. , an Israeli startup developing Short Wave Infrared imaging solutions for autonomous vehicles.
Founded in 2016, TriEye’s SWIR imaging solutions are designed to assist autonomous vehicles in being able to “see” better under limited visibility solutions such as darkness, fog and dust.
The company’s main product, the TriEYE SWIR camera is claimed to address the challenge of safe and reliable advance driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicle vision under adverse weather and other common low-visibility conditions through the use of a custom-built semiconductor.
“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,” the company said in a press release. “As a result, the company can produce an affordable HD SWIR camera in a miniaturized format, supporting easy in-vehicle mounting behind the car’s windshield.”
Cost is an important part of TriEye’s pitch with existing solutions that attempt to address low-visibility issues said to be prohibitively expensive.
In an interview with VentureBeat, TriEye chief executive officer and co-founder Avi Bakal explained that adverse visibility situations “are the times when most accidents happen,” and that “they don’t happen when you have clear blue skies.”
Bakal argues that an inability to see and analyze unusual conditions is a big stumbling block for autonomous vehicles. Likewise, reducing costs and increasing effectiveness will assist in bringing autonomy to more vehicles.
“As the automotive industry transitions to autonomous driving, demand for sensor technologies is expected to grow rapidly,” Intel Capital Israel’s Managing Director Yair Shoham said sepearately. “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.”
Including the new funding, TriEye has raised $20 million to date. Other investors include Grove Ventures and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. co-founder Marius Nacht.
The company said that it would use the new funding for ongoing product development as well as expanding relationships with automotive partners.