Baraja, a company that develops Spectrum-Scan LiDAR technology for autonomous vehicles, has raised $32 million in Series A funding from Sequoia China, Blackbird Ventures, and Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund.
What is LiDAR? LiDAR is a method that surveys distance by illuminating a target with pulsed laser lights and measures the reflected pulses with a sensor. These lasers are generally mounted on the roof of a vehicle to capture a higher view of the environment.
Baraja’s LiDAR system uses prism-like optics and shifting wavelengths of light to create “powerful eyes” for autonomous vehicles. Customers prefer using Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan because its software can instantaneously change scan resolution and adapt to the environment. This is similar to how humans are able to control visual focus.
The Spectrum-Scan technology enables Baraja’s LiDAR to be software-defined as it can be controlled and reconfigured using perception algorithms based on responses to changing environments.
With this round of funding, Baraja is going to scale production, hire additional talent, and continue pursuing its mission to enable safer autonomous driving. In conjunction with this funding round, Sequoia China partner Steven Ji is joining Baraja’s board of directors.
Baraja is based out of Sydney, Australia and is growing offices in San Francisco and Shanghai. And the company will be expanding throughout the U.S. and Asia. Baraja was founded by CEO Federico Collarte and CTO Cibby Pulikkaseril in Collarte’s garage back in 2015.
“As we grow our offices in Sydney, Shanghai, and Silicon Valley, Sequoia China, Blackbird, and Main Sequence are ideal partners to accelerate our growth in the autonomous vehicle space,” said Baraja’s CEO Federico Collarte. “We’re thrilled to be working with partners that not only bring capital, but vast strategic experience to our team.”
Baraja’s chief operating officer Rod Lopez said that the ramping up of manufacturing capabilities will enable the company to capitalize on the growing demand for high-performance LiDAR that can realistically be integrated into vehicles. Recently, the company attained an ISO 9001 certification, which is an internationally-recognized standard of quality management systems and processes required of mission-critical suppliers.
“Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan LiDAR solution is a completely new category of LiDAR technology that dispenses with expensive, spinning lasers,” added Ji. “Everyone understands the challenges for traditional LiDAR. They’re prohibitively expensive, difficult to manufacture at scale, and need to be incredibly robust. These problems need to be solved for the fully-autonomous vehicle to become a reality, which is why we’re so excited to be working with Baraja.”