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Owl Autonomous Imaging Raises $15M for 3D Thermal Sensor

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January 25, 2022

Owl Autonomous Imaging (Owl AI), which develops monocular 3D thermal imaging and ranging solutions for automotive safety systems, has announced raising $15 million in Series A funding, led by State Farm Ventures. 

The company’s patented technology is an adaptation of a thermal ranging solution developed under a challenge grant from the U.S. Air Force to track missiles in flight that travel at more than 1,000 mph. Owl developed a 3D thermal ranging camera, a solid-state camera that delivers HD thermal video with high precision ranging for development into autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

“Of the 1.35 million people killed worldwide in car accidents every year, more than half were outside of the vehicle (pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists),” said Chuck Gershman, CEO of Owl AI. “At Owl, we are all about safety, especially pedestrian safety. Owl’s 3D thermal ranging solutions enable the identification of pedestrians, animals, and cyclists far sooner than any other system on the road today, and we do it day or night, and in foul weather. Simply stated, we save lives; we save lots of lives.”

The company said current ADAS sensor suites typically have mutually dependent visible-light cameras and radar, but when one of these sensors becomes ineffective, so does the entire sensor suite. This can happen often, especially with pedestrians, cyclists, and animals at night or in inclement weather. Owl’s modality known as monocular 3D thermal ranging is based on specialty HD thermal imaging and innovative computer vision algorithms, the company said. Operating in the thermal spectrum, the algorithms exploit angular, temporal and intensity data to produce ultra-dense point clouds and highly refined object classification.

“Preventing car accidents of any kind is of critical concern,” said Michael Remmes, vice president of State Farm Ventures. “Owl’s technology is a potential compelling advancement in active safety detection and avoidance of collisions. We are excited to support Owl’s efforts to bring these advancements to the automotive community.”

The company said it recently completed field trials in conjunction with VSI Labs in Las Vegas during CES 2022, and plans to showcase the results along with live demonstrations at this week’s Photonics West Conference in San Francisco. Additional investors in the funding round included Excell Partners, Luminate NY Accelerator, Empire State Development, MHNW Consortium, Dr. Sanjay Jha, and others.

For more details on the company and its technology, visit the Owl Autonomous Imaging website here.

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