April 12, 2022
NODAR, which is developing long-range 3D vision technology, has announced it secured $12 million in Series A funding, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with participation from existing investor Rhapsody Venture Partners. Funds will be used for research and development and further productization of NODAR’s core technology, as well as expanded sales and marketing.
The company’s long-range, high-resolution, real-time camera-based software is used in the development of driver-assisted and fully autonomous vehicles, bringing advanced performance at a competitive price point to the mainstream vehicle market. The flagship product, Hammerhead, leverages advances in processing, computer vision algorithms, and camera technology to produce 3D point clouds from two or more cameras. The patented algorithms maintain alignment between cameras mounted independently on the vehicle, allowing OEMs more flexibility on where to locate the cameras. NODAR said the auto-calibration feature not only ensures reliable depth measurements despite road and vehicle vibrations, but also enables the cameras to be mounted far apart, which improves the range and accuracy of the vision system through wide-baseline triangulation.
The Hammerhead system uses off-the-shelf automotive-grade cameras and standard compute platforms to deliver its ultra-long-range sensing – beyond 1,000 meters, the company said. With cameras mounted on the roof of a passenger vehicle, NODAR said Hammerhead has demonstrated the ability to detect a 10-cm brick at 150 meters.The company adds that being able to detect very small objects at long range is indispensable for any self-driving vehicle operating safely at highway speeds because of the time and distance needed to stop or avoid the object.
“Every AV needs super reliable 3D information to understand its surroundings and make safer decisions,” said Greg Papadopoulos, a venture partner at NEA. “In the passenger vehicle market, price matters, too. At NEA, we have been following dozens of sensor and perception startups, and were amazed at what NODAR has accomplished in software using off-the-shelf cameras and how it has addressed complex industry requirements. We are thrilled to partner with Leaf and the NODAR team as they redefine 3D sensing and perception.”
“At NODAR, we believe Vision Zero is achievable,” said Leaf Jiang, CEO of NODAR. “At the cornerstone of this goal is 3D vision technology, which must serve as the eyes of the vehicle. Having spent 13 years developing optical ranging systems and seeing the incredible advances in compute, algorithms, and camera technology, I knew a solution was possible. NODAR Hammerhead is the result of this work and has the potential to become a ubiquitous component in every driver-assisted and self-driving vehicle in the world.”
For more details on the company and its technology, visit the NODAR website here.