Artificial perception systems company and iDAR development company AEye has announced that it raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Taiwania Capital, a venture capital firm that is sponsored by the Taiwan government and private enterprises. In the same announcement, the company announced a breakthrough in its long-range threat detection and safety.
This round of funding was significantly oversubscribed and it includes multiple global automotive companies — which will be formally announced at CES in January. Existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures and Tychee Partners also participated in this round.
In a test conducted by automated vehicle technology advisor company VSI Labs, AEye’s iDAR system was able to detect and track a truck at 1,000 meters — which is 4-5 times the distance that current LiDAR systems are able to detect. This test was conducted on the runway of an airport in Byron, California in order to isolate targets to better measure iDAR’s performance. The range was tested with a standard 20-foot moving truck and continuously scanned the length of the 914-meter runway. And about a month ago, AEye also announced that it achieved a 100Hz scan rate — which is a new speed record for the industry as well.
“After establishing a new standard for LiDAR scan speed, we set out to see just how far we could accurately search, acquire and track an object such as a truck,” said AEye’s Chief of Staff Blair LaCorte. “The iDAR system performed as we expected. We detected the truck with plenty of signal to identify it as an object of interest, and then easily tracked it as it moved over 1000m away. We now believe that with small adaptations, we can achieve range performance of 5km to 10km or more. These results have significant implications for the autonomous trucking and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) markets, where sensing distance needs to be as far as possible and potential threats identified as early as possible to achieve safe, reliable vehicle autonomy.”
AEye plans to use this new round of funding to scale its operations to meet global demand for its artificial perception systems for autonomous vehicles. Since AEye is partnered with contract manufacturers and Tier 1s on a global basis, the company has been able to focus on its core design and innovation competencies while being able to avoid the costs of building manufacturing capacity.
“This funding marks an inflection point for AEye, as we scale our staff, partnerships and investments to align with our customers’ roadmap to commercialization,” added AEye founder and CEO Luis Dussan. “Our strategic relationship with Taiwania will serve as a gateway to Asia, with valuable manufacturing, logistics and technology resources that will accelerate our ability to address the needs of a global market. We intend to launch our next generation product at CES, which we believe will help OEMs and Tier 1s accelerate their products and services by delivering market leading performance at the lowest cost.”