This semiconductor manufacturer sets their sights on changing your driving experience
Making a splash at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, Israeli semiconductor company Valens has announced that they succeeded in securing a $20 million funding round. The new influx of cash was raised in September 2015, but was kept under wraps until now, likely to coincide with CES.
Leading the round were previous investors Magma Venture Partners and Genesis Partners, who were joined by a number of smaller private personalities. Following this series of funding, the company’s raised total climbs to a respectable $40 million.
Valens is a member of the HDBaseT Alliance, a cooperative organization that represents some of the biggest players in their sector, including companies like LG, Sony, and Samsung. While their primary focus up to this point has been to promote their multimedia technology in the home entertainment, public, and business markets, the group has declared their intention to branch out and implement their solutions in automotive infrastructure.
The HDBaseT technology is used for transmitting uncompressed high quality images and audio from the base stations, potentially up to a distance of 100 meters through a single cable, to remote displays as a part of their 5PlayTM system.
According to their release to the press, they have teamed up with GM, Delphi, and Daimler, who have joined the Alliance’s Board of Directors, with GM coming on as a Promoter member and the others as Contributors.
In their statement, the Alliance has said that they have a variety of solutions to offer on cost saving and efficiency in the fields of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and infotainment.
Driving towards smarter cars
The concept of the connected car has been picking up speed over the past year, with the implementation of more technology being pushed into the automotive sector. While the self-driving car from tech giants like Alphabet have caught a lot of attention in the press as a possible future for the industry, more near term solutions like advances in safety, navigation, communication, and entertainment appear more likely to make their way to the next generation of vehicles.
Part of this focus is aimed at providing drivers with more accurate information to improve their driving experience. Whether it is in the form of digital dashboards that companies like the Finnish Rightware have come out with and are already being installed by major auto manufacturers such as Audi and Volkswagen, or entertainment displays that help end the constant “are we there yets?” of some younger, back seat passengers, digital add-ons are now making their way into the market. While many of these options are likely to remain as upsells for added value, others that enhance driving safety could become standard sooner rather than later.
The task of securing these systems in an increasingly digitized vehicle has also come up as an important issue in the industry, following concern that cars could become the target of hackers and endanger the lives of their occupants. A handful of cyber security firms have arisen to tackle this challenge, including TowerSec, which announced on Tuesday that they were acquired by HARMAN for $75 million.
Looking towards the future
According to Valens, they intend to use their latest funding to launch a big push in improving their capabilities in the automotive technology sector. While they as a company are less likely to be involved in the hotly discussed connected car tech, they will have a significant role to play in making many of the onboard systems function faster and more reliably, thus providing important elements of the car’s digital infrastructure.
For the time being, the company plans on growing their Israel-based R&D operations, bringing on new hires as they build their capacity.
Featured image credit: HDBaseT