Taiwan Government-Backed Fund Leads $40M Series B Round In US Self-Driving Perception Solution Developer AEye

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AEye Inc., a US-based developer of intelligent sensing system for autonomous vehicles, has raised US$40 million in series B round of financing, led by Taiwania Capital, according to a statement.

The series B round has brought the company’s total funding to over US$61 million. The round saw the participation of existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Intel Capital, Airbus Ventures and Tychee Partners.

Founded in 2017, Taiwania Capital, also known as Taiwan Capital Management Corporation, is a venture capital firm backed by Taiwan government.

With offices in both Taiwan and Silicon Valley, the venture capital mainly invests in information and communication technology (ICT) sectors, including biotech, AI, Internet of Things (IoT), network security, industrial automation, semiconductors, autonomous vehicle technology, digital devices, material, along with drones and robotics.

Based in Silicon Vally in San Francisco and founded in 2013, AEye develops artificial perception systems and self-driving technologies by processing 2D and 3D data type sensors modalities, namely the camera, LiDAR and radar.

In addition to the software, the company also provides sensor hardwares, such as LiDAR-based AE100 series and iDAR-powered AE200 series.

The company has self-developed several solutions, such as long-range threat detection, for autonomous vehicles to enable them to quickly respond to conditions in the environment.

AEye has demonstrated LiDAR scanner in 2013. It later improves LiDAR by inputing the sensor layer, which led to the development of iDAR.

The new intelligent artificial perception system iDAR,unveiled in 2017, aims to empower self-driving cars to see and perceive like human-beings and intelligently assess hazards and respond to the changing conditions.

AEye has implemented a new sensor data type Dynamic Vixels to the solution. Dynamic Vixels combines pixels from 2D cameras with voxels from 3D LiDAR, making the data handling more efficient and ignores the distraction factors which are prone to humans.

"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 1,000 metres away," said Blair LaCorte, Chief of Staff at AEye.

"We now believe that with small adaptations, we can achieve range performance of 5 kilo meters to 10 kilo meters or more," said Blair.

The proceeds of the new round will be used to expand its operation globally and to scale its staffs and partnerships.

"Our strategic relationship with Taiwania will serve as a gateway to Asia," said Luis Dussan, founder and CEO of AEye.

In 2017, AEye had received US$16 million in series A round of funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Airbus Ventures, Intel Capital, Tyche Partners and others.

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