Seoul Robotics has taken different paths on its way to commercializing autonomous vehicles. Instead of developing and embedding a comprehensive self-driving system into a vehicle, Seoul is turning to local infrastructure to do some of the heavy lifting.
And the contrarian approach attracted a new group of investors and $25 million in venture funding. The Series B funding round was led by KB Investments; Seoul Robotics.
“Instead of putting the vehicles themselves with sensors, we’re decorating the surrounding infrastructure with sensors,” Jeroen Floor, vice president of products and solutions at Seoul Robotics, said in August when the company partnered with NVIDIA.
It’s called the company’s Autonomous Vehicle Infrastructure Platform. Level 5 Control Tower (or LV5 CTRL TWR) with the so-called Sensr software collects data from cameras and lidar (light detection and range radar) as well as other data stored in the cloud and then sends it to vehicles.
According to Hanbin Lee, CEO of Seoul Robotics, the LV5 CTRL TWR uses automatic transmission and communication built into vehicles to operate autonomously without the need for hardware.
Seoul Robotics says the LV5 CTRL TWR can provide information about the surrounding environment and choose the safest route for the vehicle.
The infrastructure platform manages the car’s functions such as lane keeping and brake assist through its technology, which is called “autonomy over infrastructure (ATI)” and V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication, which sends data from the vehicle to anything. Surrounding infrastructure and other vehicles.
“[With]autonomous driving infrastructure (ATI), users can automate millions of cars passing through a parking lot with just a few hundred sensors,” he said.[Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid[በመሠረተልማት(ኤቲአይ)በራስገዝአስተዳደርአማካኝነትተጠቃሚዎችበሚሊዮንየሚቆጠሩመኪናዎችንበፓርኪንግቦታየሚያልፉበጥቂትመቶዳሳሾችብቻበራስ-ሰርሊሠሩይችላሉ”ሲልሊተናግሯል።[Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid
Seoul Robotics He developed the technology. The German car pilot program with BMW to test the new BMW 7 Series and the fully electric BMW i7 In July 2022.
In the year Founded in 2017 by four co-founders, Seoul Robotics now works with global manufacturers (OEMs) such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Qualcomm and LG Uplus to expand the use of the system.
“We are in talks with about nine more global OEMs for cooperation,” Lee said.
Li also said that one of its unique features is that the sensor software, launched in 2018, allows users to select the sensor or multiple sensors that best suit their needs, meaning customers can choose services based on their needs and budget.
“While the sensor is still the backbone of our product offering, including the LV5 CTRL TWR, the range of solutions we offer are more sophisticated compared to 2018,” Lee told TechCrunch. “We now offer three plug-and-play LiDAR development kits that include all the components necessary for any organization to set up a 3D system.” In addition, it offers customized solutions for a specific application, such as pedestrian safety, rail barriers and Level 5 autonomy, Lee continued.
Li previously noted that lidar-based sensing software was all developed by sensor manufacturers, and the software had to be tied to the hardware. “With that approach, the challenge is that each sensor has different strengths and weaknesses. Some have a wide field of view but short range, others have a narrow field of view and long range,” Lee said.
Last week, the company unveiled a feature that uses LiDAR and its sensor software to detect and warn of erratic driving situations. Seoul Robotics’ wrong-way detection feature is being deployed on freeways and highways in California, Florida and Tennessee, as well as in Europe and Asia.
With the new funding, the startup plans to grow the team and expand Sensr’s applications for its automated vehicle technology in areas such as logistics (rental car fleets, freight yards and automated valet parking systems), smart cities and security, Lee said. Other investors Noah & Partners, Future Play, Korea Development Bank, Artesian and Access Ventures participated in the Series B round.
The company, which is headquartered in Seoul and has offices in Munich, California and Raleigh, has raised $6 million in Series A 2020.