Arbe Raised $32M for New Automotive 4D Radar Chipset

Arbe from Tel-aviv, announced the closing of $32 million in Round B funding for its 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution. Arbe will use the funding to move to full production of its automotive radar chipset, which generates an image 100 times more detailed than any other solution on the market today.

Founded in 2015 by an elite team of semiconductor engineers, radar specialists, and data scientists, Arbe has secured $55 million from leading investors, including Canaan Partners Israel, iAngels, 360 Capital Partners, O.G. Tech Ventures, Catalyst CEL, AI Alliance, BAIC Capital, MissionBlue Capital, and OurCrowd. Arbe is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has offices in the United States and China.

The Tel-aviv based company has developed a 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution, enabling high-resolution sensing for ADAS and autonomous vehicles. Arbe’s technology produces detailed images, separates, identifies, and tracks objects in high resolution in both azimuth and elevation in a long range and a wide field of view, and complemented by AI-based post-processing and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping).

Its Phoenix radar chip supports more than 2000 virtual channels, tracking hundreds of objects simultaneously in a wide field of view at long-range with 30 frames per second of full scan. The company believes its solution pose a low cost alternative to the current LiDAR sensors in ADAS Systems and the future Autonomous Vehicles.

NIO to Build Mobileye’s Autonomous Taxi

By Yohai Schwiger, Techtime

Mobileye and the Chinese electric vehicle producer, NIO, are engaging in a strategic collaboration on the development of highly automated and autonomous vehicles (AV) for consumer markets in China and other major territories. As part of the planned cooperation, NIO will engineer and manufacture a self-driving system designed by Mobileye, building on its Level 4 (L4) AV kit. NIO will mass-produce the system for Mobileye and also integrate the technology into its electric vehicle lines for consumer markets and for Mobileye’s driverless ride-hailing services. NIO’s variants will target initial release in China, with plans to expand later into other global markets.

With NIO serving as its manufacturing partner, Mobileye’s self-driving system will be accessible to mass markets. NIO is the first large-scale automaker partner supplying vehicles to Mobileye’s future robotaxi fleet. By the collaboration with Mobileye, NIO aims to strength its position in the premium electric vehicle market.

Under the planned collaboration, Mobileye will provide the design of the self-driving system: L4 AV kit comprised of the Mobileye EyeQ system-on-chip, hardware, driving policy, safety software and mapping solution. NIO will provide engineering, integration and mass-production of Mobileye’s system for both consumer markets and for Mobileye’s mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) applications. NIO will also develop a variant of electric AV that Mobileye will use as robotaxis, deployed for ride-hailing services in global markets.

Cars in the Mobileye fleet of autonomous vehicles leave the Mobileye garage in Jerusalem, for test drives
Cars in the Mobileye fleet of autonomous vehicles leave the Mobileye garage in Jerusalem, for test drives

Mobileye’s AV kit

The L4 AV kit is a driverless technology solution designed to be integrated in vehicles with autonomous capabilities. It offers the necessary hardware to enable full autonomy in vehicles, including cameras, radars, lidars, cables, modem, GPS and additional mechanical components, all powered by the 5th generation EyeQ system-on-chip.

Mobileye’s proprietary reinforcement learning algorithms enable human-like driving skills for vehicle systems. Mobileye’s driving policy technology allows vehicles equipped with the AV kit, to negotiate with other human-driven vehicles on the road in complex situations.

Mobileye’s driving policy is complemented by Responsibility-Sensitive Safety (RSS) model, which helps ensure an autonomous vehicle will make safe decisions. RSS is an open and transparent formal model that provides safety parameters for AV decision-making, formalizing common sense human-centered concepts of what it means to drive safely. While the planning behind driving policy gets vehicles from Point A to Point B, RSS helps keep them safe along the way.

Mobileye, an Intel company, builds on its current ADAS systems to build autonomous driving systems. In the 2019’s third quarter, Mobileye achieved record quarter with 20% revenue growth, reaching $229 million revenues. Today, it powers ADAS systems in 300 car models with 27 OEM partners, and by the end of 2019, Mobileye expects to reach more than 50 million EyeQ chips shipped since 2008.

REE Emerged From Stealth Mode with High-tech Wheels

If you ask REE from Tel aviv what is different in the car of the future, it will probably say that new electric cars need new electric wheels. Last week the company emerged from its stealth mode with a revolutionary flat and modular platform, based on a new design of the traditional wheels. By integrating all of the components formerly found under the hood of the car into the wheel, REE offers optimal freedom of design and multiple body configurations on a single platform. It also reduces vehicle size and weight, and increases energy efficiency.

REE’s engineers had placed the motor, steering, suspension, drive train, sensing systems, brakes, thermal systems and electronics into the wheel. This design provides a low center of gravity to maximize efficiency and supports the vehicle’s agility and stability. It drastically reduces a vehicle’s footprint, weight, and improves both energy efficiency and performance.

According to the company, its technology provides the basis of any type of vehicle from a high-performance car able to do 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds to an off-road SUV with advanced active suspension technology. The platform can also be used as the base of a robotaxi or even a 10-ton cross country truck. “Until now, the industry has operated by making incremental improvements on the traditional design,” said Daniel Barel, Co-Founder and CEO of REE. “At REE, we believe that in order to hasten the automotive revolution we need to reinvent the wheel – quite literally.”

REE is already collaborating with leading OEMs and Tier-1/Tier-2 automotive companies including Mitsubishi Corporation, Musashi Seimitsu Industry, Tenneco, American Axle, FCA and NSK. Mitsubishi Corporation commented, “We can see REE’s technology has huge potential in the autonomous driving world, as it makesthe electrification process highly efficient with its new modular platform.”

Innoviz: $170M Funding Round for Solid-State LiDAR

Innoviz Technologies, from Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel, has closed its Series C funding round with $170 Million secured. This is a much bigger round compare to the company’s expectation of $132M (March 2019). Innoviz provides solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software to enable mass-production of autonomous vehicles, and had been chosen by BMW to supply the LiDAR sensors of its future autonomous car. The brings Innoviz’s total funding to $252 Million.

The announced that the funding will support several key initiatives, including the enhancement of Innoviz’s perception software. This software support the sensors by providing vehicles with a deep understanding of the 3D driving scene, including object detection, classification, segmentation and tracking. In addition, Innoviz has secured two computer vision industry experts, Dr. Raja Giryes and Or Shimshi, to serve as strategic collaborators to the software.

Dr. Raja’s experience includes senior academic and research roles and a doctorate in computer science. Or brings significant private sector experience managing teams and serving in advisory roles for computer vision, deep learning, machine learning and AI with Samsung Semiconductors, Intel, Qualcomm and Citi Bank. Innoviz will also accelerate its path to mass production and commercialization.

The company expects that its InnovizOne automotive-grade LiDAR solution to enter series production in 2021 for global automakers. The company’s high-performance, solid-state LiDAR solution InnovizPro is available now, offering better performance as well as mapping and other applications.

Vishay Siliconix and TowerJazz Expand Automotive Manufacturing

Vishay Siliconix new portfolio of power semiconductor products will be produced two of TowerJazz’s worldwide IATF16949 qualified manufacturing facilities. “With the ongoing increase of electronic content, automotive has been the main driver of growth in our industry,” said Serge Jaunay, Vishay MOSFET Division Head. TowerJazz is ranked as Vishay Siliconix’s number one foundry.”

Towerjazz received the certification in May, 2018, and today, four of its plants are qualified for IATF16949: Fab 1 and Fab 2 in Migdal Haemek, Israel; Fab 3 in Newport Beach, California and Fab 9 in San Antonio, Texas. According to IC Insights, the automotive IC market reached record revenue of $32.3 billion in 2018 and is expected to remain the fastest growing IC market with a CAGR of 12.5%, exceeding $43 billion in 2021.

This market is expected to be dominated by analog ICs, power management including power MOSFETs, visual and non-visual sensors, RF, and lighting. Vishay Siliconix utilizes TowerJazz’s Transfer Optimization and development Process Services (TOPS) for its low-and high-voltage power MOSFET products. These services includes the development of next-generation custom processes. “Vishay Siliconix is our highly valued customer and partner”, said Zmira Shternfeld-Lavie, Senior VP and GM of TOPS Business Unit in TowerJazz.

I.D. Systems to Acquire Pointer Telocation for $140 Million

It is not clear whether this is a merger or an acquisition, but the bottom line is clear: The provider of wireless M2M solutions for managing assets and vehicles, I.D. Systems from New Jersey, is paying $140 million for the Israeli based Pointer Telocation. Pointer provides Wireless solutions and cloud-based software platform for Mobile Resource Management (MRM). Its annual 2018 sales reached $77.8 million, compared to $53 million of I.D. Systems.

The acquisition will be effected through a holding company structure: I.D. Systems and Pointer will each become wholly-owned subsidiaries of the newly-created PowerFleet, Inc., which is expected to be dual listed on Nasdaq and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. The transactions will be funded through a combination of a $50 million convertible preferred equity investment by Abry Partners and a $30 million debt financing by Bank Hapoalim (Israel).

The Acquisition expected to close in the Summer of 2019. Following the approval, I.D. Systems CEO, Chris Wolfe, and CFO, Ned Mavrommatis, are to lead the combined company with Pointer CEO, David Mahlab, to serve as CEO International. Pointer CFO, Yaniv Dorani will serve as Deputy to CEO International. “The acquisition combines our product leadership in North America with Pointer’s technology and broad international footprint,” said Wolfe.

Mahlab (photo above) said the deal is about to increase Pointer’s penetration in North America, “as well as expand our share of the global multi-billion-dollar IoT telematics market.” Today Pointer Telocation is engaged in a  technological collaboration with Microsoft Israel, building an AI system for modeling and understanding driver behavior. The system will learn based on the large volume of driver behavior data collected by Pointer historically as well as on an ongoing basis. The analysis will be performed using Microsoft Azure cloud.

Pointer’s goal is to build a predictive system for driver behavior. The system will be able to forecast those drivers which are more likely to be involved in a future road accident in light of the way they drive and their history. It will also be able to indicate which component of their driving needs improving, in order to reduce their risks