s Venture Capital arm, joined leading VC funds as well as automotive OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers in the financing round of Recogni.
The Silicon Valley start-up with subsidiary in Munich develops a vision-oriented AI platform for autonomous vehicles, which allows the processing of sensor data from LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging, a sensor based on infrared light for 3D machine vision that can be used to detect distances amongst other things), camera and RADAR systems in real-time and at low power consumption.
Besides Fluxunit, GreatPoint Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, BMW iVentures, Faurecia, DNS Capital, amongst others partook in the $25 million financing round.
As the automotive industry is transitioning to autonomous vehicles, a network of computers is needed to drive these vehicles efficiently on a limited energy budget. While these AI systems are trained offline, they need to process the sensor data in real-time in the vehicle. Today, autonomous vehicles have hit the processing efficiency wall and are unable to transition to the next level of autonomy and beyond. Recogni is focused on creating high-performance and low-power AI processing to help make autonomous vehicles a reality.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in San Jose, CA, the company is positioning itself to revolutionize the processing of sensor data for Level 2+ autonomous vehicles. Using a Vision Cognition Processor, Recogni will solve the problem of running perception algorithms in the vehicle in real-time and at low power consumption. The company’s founders possess deep industry experience in system design, AI, vision, and custom silicon design.
"We see a huge opportunity here to truly achieve the goal of full vehicle autonomy with the Recogni platform,” said Ashok Krishnamurthi, managing partner at GreatPoint Ventures. “While scoping the market, we realized that most of the neural network accelerator technologies are either optimized for performance or power – none are optimized for both. We believe that the Recogni platform is orders of magnitude superior to anything we have seen. Further, this is a team we've known for years and have backed in the past. They are the right group to not only develop this promising technology but also get it into the hands of the auto OEMs.”
“We truly believe in sensor fusion based on camera, RADAR, and LIDAR, but the computational requirements for processing the flood of data in real-time and running perception algorithms on the edge remain one of the critical bottlenecks in autonomous driving today,” added Sebastian Stamm, investment Manager at Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures. “Recogni solves this problem with a unique and disruptive approach.”
Recogni plans to use the funds to deliver the most capable perception system to enable state of the art sensor fusion of visual and depth sensor data while continuing to grow its top-tier engineering team. Recogni is currently in discussions with multiple auto manufacturers, to provide them with the full suite of enabling technology from modules to the software.
“The issues within the Level 2+, 3, 4 and 5 autonomy ecosystem range from capturing/generating training data to inferring in real-time. These vehicles need datacenter class performance while consuming minuscule amounts of power,” said RK Anand, CEO of Recogni. “Leveraging our background in machine learning, computer vision, silicon, and system design, we are engineering a fundamentally new system that benefits the auto industry with very high efficiency at the lowest power consumption.”
The investment in Recogni underlines OSRAM’s transition from a lighting company towards a high-tech photonics company in various future applications such as autonomous driving. Via its venture arm Fluxunit, OSRAM will contribute their extensive know-how in semiconductors for lighting as well as sensing applications in the automotive industry.