Startup Combining LiDAR and Digital Imaging, AEye Raises $40 Million in Series B Funding

Taiwania Capital lead a group of investors in a Series B funding round that raised $40 million for a firm combining LiDAR and digital imaging, Aeye. The California-based startup intends to utilize the funding to scale its operations internationally via manufacturing partnerships. Taiwania Capital, the investment firm created and backed by Taiwan’s National Development Council, led the funding round. The round also included returning investors Airbus Ventures, Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Tychee Partners.

This latest funding round brings the startup’s total funding raised to about $61 million. In a press statement, founder and CEO Luis Dussan noted that Taiwania’s investment is a strategic one, and it will give AEye more access to manufacturing, logistics, and tech resources in Asia. AEye also plans to debut a new product at CES in January.

AEye vehicle with company's iDAR technology combining digital imaging, perceptual biomimicry, and LiDAR

AEye vehicle with company’s iDAR technology combining digital imaging, perceptual biomimicry, and LiDAR

The company calls its sensors system that combines LiDAR and digital imaging, iDAR. The company boasts that at over 300 meters its solid-state LiDAR sensors achieve scan rates of 100Hz or greater, a 10x improvement over currently deployed systems with typically scan rates at 10Hz.

According to the company, iDAR’s biomimicry enables autonomous perception to create situationally specific scan patterns that can search a scene four to five times faster than the human eye. Furthermore, the company says that this scanning speed is matched by the iDAR system’s superior spatial coverage that breaks down a scene into Dynamic Vixels, a data type unique to iDAR that combines X,Y,Z and R,G,B data.

So, by finding and locating objects as fast or faster than a human, AEye says that iDAR enables perception that can intelligently categorize and track objects at unprecedented rates.

Also, unlike conventional camera-based digital imaging systems alone, iDAR has the unique ability to calculate the vector and velocity of each object within a frame. AEye contends that this ability to modulate both spatial and temporal dimensions simultaneously as humans do is what is required to reach level 4 and 5 autonomy.

The privately held company does not offer common stock, despite the fact that an entirely unrelated company AudioEye uses the stock symbol AEYE.