California-based startup Metawave Corporation has closed its initial Series A funding round that will allow it to accelerate the further development of long-range radar sensing for highly automated driving and wireless solutions for 5G deployments.
DENSO, the world’s second largest automotive supplier, led the round, with other investors including Mirae Asset Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and existing investors including BOLD Capital Partners. Metawave’s initial seed round of US$17m included financial support from giants in the automotive market, including DENSO, Toyota, Hyundai, Infineon, and others. As a global leader in 5G, NTT DOCOMO’s inclusion in the latest funding round is a significant addition given Metawave’s innovation in fifth-generation cellular technology. In August this year, Metawave reached more than 100 pending patent applications in its two major spheres of research: radar and 5G connectivity, both of which are key components in future connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) deployments.
Using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for analogue radars, Metawave is building SPEKTRA, the first beamsteering radar system capable of distinguishing between objects in difficult driving scenarios and in all-weather conditions, making cars safer and smarter. The company has been delivering its Proof of Concept (POC) to leading automakers and Tier 1 transportation providers since early 2019, demonstrating its capabilities in today’s difficult driving scenarios, including enhancing automated features like cut in/cut out, automated braking, lane assist and adaptive cruise control. Using the latest advances in deep learning to extract meaningful information, Metawave’s proprietary AWARE AI platform is integrated with its radar platform to solve the ‘lack-of-precision’ issue.
To support the development of 5G, Metawave is developing its state-of-the-art TURBO active repeaters and ECHO passive reflectors to bend and boost mm-wave signals to enable faster, more efficient 5G and fixed wireless deployments to bring high-speed connectivity to billions of users around the world. The company demonstrated results with DOCOMO in late 2018, showing how the ECHO platform boosts signals for better communication speed and coverage using 5G. Metawave is working with leading telecom companies to demonstrate both ECHO and TURBO, giving 5G users faster, economical, and reliable connectivity. Metawave’s network planning AWARE AI platform uses a combination of deep learning and traditional electromagnetic simulations. It enables users to scan their application area, and makes precise suggestions for optimal locations and arrangements of ECHO and TURBO platforms.
“To be able to work on innovative hardware, system, software, and AI platforms in such high-growth markets is exciting and challenging,” said Maha Achour, founder and CEO of Metawave. “When I see our automotive partners excited about our radar capabilities and telecom customers demonstrating impressive results using our 5G solutions, I’m inspired and proud to lead a fearless team who has been delivering incredible results in less than 18 months from opening our development centre in Carlsbad. Consumer expectations and business demands are increasing with the advent of new technologies, especially in mobility and connectivity, and being able to work closely with 5G and automotive leaders helps us visualize the future and continuously adapt as roads become safer and people strive to be more productive.”