Inside Seoul Robotics’s contrarian approach to autonomous vehicle tech

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Seoul Robotics has taken a divergent path on the highway to commercializing autonomous automobiles. As a substitute of creating and embedding all the self-driving system, together with sensors right into a automobile, Seoul is popping to surrounding infrastructure to do a few of the heavy lifting.

And its contrarian method has attracted a brand new group of buyers and $25 million in enterprise funding. The Sequence B funding was led by KB Funding, in response to Seoul Robotics.

“As a substitute of outfitting the automobiles themselves with sensors, we’re outfitting the encircling infrastructure with sensors,” vp of product and options at Seoul Robotics Jerone Ground stated in August when the corporate partnered with NVIDIA.

The corporate’s autonomous-vehicle infrastructure platform known as Level 5 Control Tower (or LV5 CTRL TWR) together with its branded Sensr software program, collects info from sensors like cameras and lidar (mild detection and ranging radar) in addition to different information saved within the cloud after which sends that to automobiles. 

Based on Seoul Robotics CEO Hanbin Lee, the LV5 CTRL TWR makes use of an computerized transmission and connectivity constructed into automobiles to maneuver them autonomously with out requiring {hardware}.

Seoul Robotics claims its LV5 CTRL TWR helps present info on the encircling setting and chooses the most secure path for the automobile. 

The infrastructure platform manages a automobile’s features equivalent to lane-keeping and brake help through its know-how, known as “autonomy by way of infrastructure (ATI),” and a V2X (vehicle-to-everything) communication system, which sends info from a automobile to any surrounding infrastructure and different automobiles.

“[With the autonomy by way of infrastructure (ATI), customers can automate tens of millions of vehicles passing by way of a car parking zone with only some hundred sensors,” Lee stated. 

Seoul Robotics deployed its technology with BMW to check the German automobile’s pilot program with the brand new BMW 7 Sequence and the absolutely electrical BMW i7 in July 2022.

Based in 2017 by 4 co-founders, Seoul Robotics now works with world producers (OEMs) like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Qualcomm and LG Uplus to diversify using its system.

“We’re in discussions with about 9 extra world OEMs now for partnerships,” Lee stated.

Lee additionally stated that considered one of its most unusual options is that its Sensr software program, launched in 2018, permits customers to decide on a sensor, or a number of sensors, that finest match their wants, that means that prospects can choose companies based mostly on their necessities and budgets.

“Whereas Sensr may be very a lot nonetheless the spine of our product choices, together with LV5 CTRL TWR, the sorts of options we provide are way more subtle in comparison with 2018,” Lee advised TechCrunch. “We now provide three plug-and-play LiDAR growth kits that embody all of the parts needed for any group to get arrange with a 3D system.” Moreover, it gives options tailor-made to a particular software, equivalent to pedestrian security, railroad impediment detection and Stage 5 autonomy, Lee continued.

Lee defined that the earliest LiDAR-based notion software program was all developed by sensor producers, and the software program needed to be tied to the {hardware}. “With that method, the problem was that every sensor have completely different strengths and weaknesses; some have a large subject of view however brief vary, others have a slim subject of view and long-range,” Lee stated. “It’s also not doable to combine and match sensor, which we are available.”

Picture Credit: Seoul Robotics

Final week, the corporate launched a function that makes use of LiDAR and its Sensr software program to detect and alert situations of wrong-way driving. Seoul Robotics says the wrong-way detection function is being deployed on freeways and highways in California, Florida and Tennessee, in addition to in Europe and Asia.

With the newest funding, the startup plans to develop its crew and broaden functions of Sensr to carry its automated automobile know-how to different potential companions throughout industries like logistics (rental automobile fleets, trucking yards and automatic valet parking methods), good cities and safety, Lee stated. Different buyers embody Noh and Companions, Future Play, Korean Growth Financial institution, Artesian and Entry Ventures additionally participated in Sequence B.

The corporate, headquartered in Seoul with places of work in Munich, California, and Raleigh, raised $6 million in Sequence A in 2020. 

Inside Seoul Robotics’s contrarian approach to autonomous vehicle tech by Kate Park initially revealed on TechCrunch

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