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Inside Seoul Robotics’ contrarian approach to autonomous vehicle technology • Technology Flow

Seoul Robotics has taken a different path on the road to commercializing autonomous vehicles. Instead of developing and embedding an entire self-driving system, including sensors, into a vehicle, Seoul is turning to the surrounding infrastructure to do some of the heavy lifting.

And its contrarian approach attracted a new group of investors and $25 million in venture funding. The Series B funding was led by KB Investment Seoul Robotics.

“Instead of equipping vehicles with sensors, we’re making the surrounding infrastructure with sensors,” Seoul Robotics’ vice president of product and solutions Jeroen Flore said in August when the company partnered with NVIDIA.

The company’s autonomous-vehicle infrastructure platform Level 5 Control Tower (or LV5 CTRL TWR) along with its branded Sensr software, collects information from sensors like cameras and lidar (light detection and ranging radar) as well as other data stored in the cloud, and then sends it to vehicles.

According to Seoul Robotics CEO Hanbin Lee, the LV5 CTRL TWR uses automatic transmission and connectivity built into vehicles to operate autonomously without the need for hardware.

Seoul Robotics says its LV5 CTRL TWR can help provide information on the surrounding environment and select a safe route for the vehicle.

The infrastructure platform manages car functions such as lane-keeping and brake assistance through its technology, called “Autonomy Through Infrastructure (ATI)” and the V2X (Vehicle-to-Everything) communication system, which sends any information from the vehicle. surrounding infrastructure and other vehicles.

“[Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid[ఇన్‌ఫ్రాస్ట్రక్చర్(ATI)ద్వారాస్వయంప్రతిపత్తితోవినియోగదారులుకొన్నివందలసెన్సార్‌లతోపార్కింగ్స్థలంగుండాలక్షలాదికార్లనుఆటోమేట్చేయవచ్చు”అనిలీచెప్పారు[Withtheautonomythroughinfrastructure(ATI)userscanautomatemillionsofcarspassingthroughaparkinglotwithonlyafewhundredsensors”Leesaid

Seoul Robotics implemented its technology With BMW to test the German car pilot program with the new BMW 7 Series and fully electric BMW i7 In July 2022.

Founded in 2017 by four co-founders, Seoul Robotics now works with global manufacturers (OEMs) such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Qualcomm and LG Uplus to diversify the use of its system.

“We are now in talks with nine other global OEMs for partnerships,” Lee said.

Launched in 2018, the sensor software allows users to select the sensor or multiple sensors that best suit their needs, Lee said, meaning customers can choose services based on their needs and budgets.

“While Sensr is still the backbone of our product offerings, including the LV5 CTRL TWR, the types of solutions we offer are more advanced than in 2018,” Lee told Technology Flow. “We now offer three plug-and-play LiDAR development kits that include all the components any organization needs to set up with a 3D system.” In addition, it offers application-specific solutions such as pedestrian safety, railroad obstacle detection and Level 5 autonomy, Lee continued.

Lee explained that the early LiDAR-based sensing software was all developed by the sensor manufacturers and the software had to be tied to the hardware. “With that approach, the challenge is that each sensor has different strengths and weaknesses; Some have a wide field of view but short range, others have a narrow field of view and long-range,” Lee said. “We can’t even mix and match the sensor that comes in.”

Seoul Robotics

Image Credits: Seoul Robotics

Last week, the company launched a feature that uses LiDAR and its Sensr software to detect and warn of wrong-way driving situations. Seoul Robotics says it is deploying this wrong-way detection feature on freeways and highways in California, Florida and Tennessee, as well as Europe and Asia.

With the fresh funding, the startup plans to grow its team and expand Sensr’s applications to provide automated vehicle technology to other potential partners in industries such as logistics (rental car fleets, trucking yards and automated valet parking systems), smart cities and security. Lee said. Other investors included Noah and Partners, Future Play, Korean Development Bank, Artesian and Access Ventures also participated in the Series B round.

The company, headquartered in Seoul with offices in Munich, California and Raleigh, raised $6 million in Series A in 2020.

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