Oryx Vision, an Israeli-based startup developing sensors for autonomous cars founded in 2009, received a $50M Series B Round led by Third Point Ventures and WRV, and joined by Union Tech Ventures, and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Maniv Mobility and Trucks VC.
The company is trying to achieve the depth vision performance required for true autonomous driving through a new simple and robust low-cost lidar sensor that uses nano antennas.
While traditional lidar detects light with photoelectric sensors, “basically measuring the energy of the light,” according to CEO Rani Wellingstein, these silicon-made microscopic antennas detect light wave frequencies. The system has increased sensitivity and range (150 meters), and produces both velocity and range data for every point in its field of view. The antennas also operate at a 10-micron wavelength that can see through fog and will not get blinded by bright sunlight.
To fulfill its low-cost objective, Oryx’s lidar sensor uses an imager that costs about the same as a camera in a mobile phone, and its antennas are also less expensive than current lidar systems. The system also uses very simple optics with no steering, no rotating elements, and no optical rays to account for.
“Over the past year,” says Adam Fisher of Bessemer Venture Partners, “Oryx has validated much of the promise we’ve identified in it when we first invested in the company. During that time, the space has heated up, as many industry players realized that active depth sensing is pivotal for autonomous driving and that existing solutions come short. Oryx is best placed to meet the challenge and become a winner in this market, and we welcome the new investors who share our belief”.
Last year, Oryx received its $17M series A round, which brings the company to a total of $67M in funding. It will use the new funds to accelerate its development activities and to intensify its commercial engagements with car OEMs, tier-1 supplier and technology players.
“Oryx is building the first solution that will meet all the key requirements of automotive lidars – high performance, car durability, and low price – without a tradeoff,” says Wellingstein. “We are delighted to receive a vote of confidence in our vision from such sophisticated investors, and to have the resources to bring this technology to market quickly and at the highest quality”.
The company expects to ship units for car-mounted testing in the second half of 2018.