A spinoff of Elbit Systems, BrightWay Vision (BWV), an Israeli company that is developing a Gated Imaging system for autonomous vehicles, has announced the addition of strategic and venture capital investors and the completion of a US$25m financing round.
BrightWay Vision’s aim is to provide the automotive industry with a groundbreaking solution that enables autonomous driving day and night, in all weather conditions. The new funding is the company’s Round B, which will be mainly used to commercialize the technology in order to allow mass production. The investment has been made by the world’s largest automotive headlight manufacturer, Koito Manufacturing Co. of Japan, and Israeli Magenta Venture Partners. Koito is a global leader in the development, production and marketing of automotive headlights and has conducted thorough experiments with BWV’s technology. This trial and testing program proved to be successful and led to a decision to strategically invest in the company and help accelerate the penetration of the product into the global automotive market.
The system developed by BWV enables imaging in poor visibility: darkness and harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow and fog. The system incorporates a CMOS sensor and a light source that is installed in the vehicle and produces a clear image for the full range from 0-820 feet (0-250m). The solution slices this range into several sections and allows for computer vision to analyze each section individually and produce an image. The technology will enable artificial intelligence (AI) to operate at night and under poor visibility and detect even small debris on the road. The company holds 25 registered patent families. The product has been matured both in price and in performance and answers an unresolved problem of imaging under difficult visibility conditions in the field of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The company’s prototypes have been successfully tested by leading OEMs and Tier1s from around the world.
“We are extremely pleased with the investment of Koito and Magenta and the value they bring,” commented, BWV’s CEO and co-founder, Ofer David. “The cooperation and investment of Koito, a leading global manufacturer of automotive equipment, demonstrates the solid relationship and the trust in our solution and paves the way for market penetration within a short time. The funding will be used for commercialization of our unique technology and enable us to expand research and development activities.”
Koito’s senior managing director, Hideharu Konagaya, who will be joining BWV’s board of directors, said, “The efforts of our partnership will bring BrightWay’s autonomous vision solution to our OEM customers. Their technology will be integrated with our products to offer a complete and reliable all-weather, 24/7 solution for automakers. We also look forward to partnering with Elbit Systems and the company’s other investors in making Brightway Vision a game changing solution.”
Magenta’s managing partner, Ori Israely, who will also be joining the BWV board, noted, “We are excited to partner with Koito and support BrightWay’s team as they develop the most advanced technological solutions for the L2 to L5 autonomous vehicle challenges. In an industry packed with many lidar, radar and other sensor companies, it was refreshing to find a company innovating on the complete array of driving conditions.”