The Israeli startup company Aurora Labs, which develops a software management system for vehicles, announced last week (Thursday) the completion of a $63 million Series C funding round. The round was led by the Moore Strategic Ventures (MSV) with participation from the Porsche holding group – which owns car brands such as Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, SEAT– and the Colmobil Group, an importer of brands such as Hyundai in Israel.
"Our development will be in cars ready to hit the road in the coming years"
Aurora's system is an integrated solution with machine learning algorithms that can detect software behaviour faults, and even predict crash events. In addition, the system can remotely fix software glitches in real-time, and provide fast software updates, all without the need to disable the vehicle. This way, the manufacturers can make sure the vehicles are in good working condition, and the drivers can enjoy a smooth driving experience without any surprising software glitches.
The company also explained to us that new global regulations require car companies to provide security updates in existing car software. Therefore, manufacturers are now prioritizing software when developing their products. Aurora's development is intended to prevent bugs in advance as well as to prevent recalls– an infamous and expensive process in the automotive world.
In a conversation with Geektime, Zohar Fox, one of Aurora Labs founders and the CEO said that in the last two years, the company has tripled its number of patents, and completed all the safety processes necessary to integrate production with two of its customers.
"With the help of our company's products, automakers can regularly update the vehicle's digital ‘nervous system’ in a safe, inexpensive way compared to the solutions on the shelf today," said Fox. He said the company would take part in two production product development projects at two car giants, adding that they "expect to see Aurora Labs' technology in cars on the road in the coming years."
Fox said that the system they developed was able to alert one of their cooperating manufacturers that the software in its vehicles showed a significant drop in performance following a change related to the vehicle's external environment. Aurora's system was able to detect that high humidity led to the vehicle's processor changing the way it worked, which affected the software. "The alert made it possible to respond quickly and fix the problem without going into a lengthy process of trying to understand the situation and in turn trying to recover it," he said.
Making it possible to "Shazam" vehicles' software code
Fox also said that many developers in the industry use tools similar to Shazam, but instead of music it detects lines of code– in this case, code in the vehicle's software: "With the help of the company's AI tools that 'listen' to the behavior of the lines of code, now it can connect the security of open source to the application inside the vehicle."
Did you have trouble raising capital this round given the market situation?
Fox: "The market today is more challenging which sets a very high standard for companies trying to raise capital Aurora Labs was able to meet these high standards and therefore reach the recruitment target."
Aurora Labs was founded in 2016 by Zohar Fox and Ori Lederman (COO), and currently employs about 80 people. To date, the company has raised about $100 million, and Lutz Meschke – a board member at Porsche – said the car giant has doubled their investment in Aurora during this recent round, having also participated in its 2020 round of funding.