Today (Thursday), Israeli startup AdaSky, a developer of thermal sensing technologies for autonomous vehicles, announced a $15 million funding round as part of its Series B. The round was led by existing investors KYOCERA from Japan and South Korean parts manufacturer Sungwoo Hitech.
Identifying pedestrians by their body temp
AdaSky’s “Viper” system better identifies a vehicle’s surroundings with thermal sensing technology. The thermal imaging solution enables the autonomous vehicle to better detect and analyze the road, whether it be for pedestrians, traffic markings, animals, or road obstructions. The thermal sensors work in both day or night environments, and even in harsh weather conditions. The sensor is cooled to 0.05 celsius, and therefore according to the company, able to catalog and identify every object surrounding the vehicle.
COVID brings new opportunities
Over the last few months, since the pandemic outbreak, AdaSky has added a new imaging solution to its product line that utilizes the company’s proprietary Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) technology. AdaSky’s Viper-R product monitors for irregular body temperature in public places, which due to the Coronavirus’s characteristics becomes a pretty handy tool in detecting the potentially infected. Unlike standard thermometers, AdaSky’s development can monitor temperatures in crowded areas, and the company plans to leverage this COVID-reality solution for commercial distribution approvals in the U.S. and Europe.
“We asked for $15 million, and got it”
AdaSky CEO Yakov Shaharabani explained in a conversation with Geektime that the company’s VIPER system has experienced significant algorithm upgrades over the past two years. “We increased the detection range, while also improving picture quality and we are testing the system in various harsh environments with successful outcomes so far,” tells Shaharabani.
He continued to explain that the company has developed a new system for smart cities that creates a grid of all users, and works in any weather condition, as well as on roads with limited driver sight. Shaharabani highlights that ADASKY's high-resolution LWIR thermal imaging solutions are designed and manufactured in-house, end-to-end, and will be applied to vehicle safety systems for ADAS/AV solutions and smart city infrastructure.
Even though COVID has opened the door to opportunities with the development of VIPER-R, the pandemic has also caused interaction with international automotive customers to severely slow down, according to Shaharabani. But he also notes that the summer has brought a new wind for the automotive industry, which is “reawakening”.
The current $15 million funding round came in less than the $20 million from the previous round, but Shaharabani doesn’t see this as a problem. “We asked for our existing investors for $15 million, and got it.”
AdaSky was founded in 2016 by Avi Katz And Ya’akov Dagan, and is headquartered in one of Israel’s northern tech hubs - Yoqne'am Illit, where the company plans to build its first factory.