Ex-Apple engineers unveil self-driving car sensor
Founded by former Apple engineers Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, the company is working on an autonomous sensor system designed to enable vehicles to sense the road, vehicles, pedestrians and other surroundings several hundred yards ahead. According to reports, the company’s system is able to detect velocity, depth, and reflectivity more than 200 yards away – all in a unit the size of a tissue box and at a cost of “a few hundred bucks” per sensor.
While other self-driving systems use data from separate sensors, which then need to be combined in a step called “sensor fusion,” Aeva’s technology is designed to combine the various sensor functions – such as speed, depth, and imaging – in one device. Its device reportedly has sensors for motion, depth, speed, and reflected light, and contains an artificial intelligence (AI) chip that processes it all together.
Soroush Salehian tells Reuters, “Because we’ve created this technology from the ground up, we have unique access to the data from deep inside the hardware.”
Unlike conventional lidar, which beams individual pulses of laser light, the company told VentureBeat, the company’s sensor system sends out a continuous wave embedded with a unique signature. The result, says the company, is a system that has a 200-meter range, a power consumption of less than 100 watts, and a resolution down to the centimeters per second while offering improved performance in inclement weather and with reflective objects like metal railings.
“Only Aeva’s sensing system knows what an object is from over 200 meters away and can simultaneously identify if it’s a car or a person, recognize how fast it’s going … and predict what it’s about to do in the following seconds,” Salehian told VentureBeat.
The company currently has about 50 employees and has also just announced that it raised $45 million in funding from investors including Canaan Partners and Lux Capital. The company says that it has already begun selling its sensors to OEMs and manufacturers, and that partners include key automotive and ride-sharing companies.
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