Edge Case Research: This Pittsburgh Company Improves The Safety Of Autonomous Vehicles

By Noah Long ● June 22, 2019
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company Edge Case Research is known for improving the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles
  • Recently, Edge Case Research raised $7 million in funding

Edge Case Research is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based company that is known for improving the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles. And Edge Case is known for developing products and standards to gain public confidence and trust in this new technology by assuring vehicles will operate safely on public roads.

The Hologram technology identifies “edge cases” in the perception stack. These are situations where the deep learning algorithms at the core of autonomous vehicles fail to detect critical objects like pedestrians, vehicles, and other road users. And Hologram gives developers the information that is needed to retrain their algorithms to operate more reliably — which addresses a critical barrier to the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.

Recently, Edge Case announced it raised $7 million in funding. With this funding round, the company is going to expand the development of Hologram — which is an intelligent safety assessment platform for autonomous vehicle software that operates at the speed of machine learning development.

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This round of funding was led by engineering simulation company ANSYS and Chris Urmson — (co-founder and CEO of Aurora). Lockheed Martin Ventures, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Trucks VC, and Blue Tree Allied Angels also joined this round.

“I am honored to bring together an ecosystem of investors with industry expertise, and to be playing a significant role in the advancement of safe autonomous vehicles,” said Edge Case Research CEO Michael Wagner. “Most importantly, we’ve built an investor group that shares our mission to empower innovators to bring safe, trustworthy technologies to market. This ambitious vision is behind everything we do.”

In conjunction with this funding round, Urmson and ANSYS VP of corporate marketing and business development Matthew Zack are joining Edge Case’s board of directors.

“Self-driving technology will have a profound impact on the safety of our roads and the quality of life of communities in our cities,” added Urmson. “Developing and delivering self-driving technology safety is paramount, and the Edge Case team has the commitment and deep expertise for building important tools for developing this technology. I’m thrilled to see Edge Case take this next step in their mission.”

Edge Case is also partnering with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to provide leadership for creating the UL 4600 standard for the safety of autonomous products. UL 4600 will likely be the first comprehensive standard to address the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles and mobile robotic products. This technology will address the safety of autonomous products that operate without human intervention based on their current state and sense of the operating environment. Edge Case served as the primary subject matter experts for creating the initial draft version. The Underwriters Laboratories Standard Technical Panel (STP) is currently revising that draft for producing a consensus-based industry standard with a planned completion date of late 2019.

“We are excited to welcome Edge Case Research into our AV Ecosystem,” explained Zack. “Their unique and robust offerings complement our comprehensive autonomous solutions for safety and automatic driving scenario generation and will help make Level 5 autonomous vehicles a reality.”

Edge Case was launched by leading autonomy and safety experts at Carnegie Mellon University including Wagner and Professor Philip Koopman — both of who believed that safety should be built into all AI products from the ground up. And the company has a growing client base that spans a wide variety of markets including automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, defense, and industrial power systems.