TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Guardian Optical Technologies today announced the launch of breakthrough, patent-pending sensor technology for automobile manufacturers, supported by $5.1 million in Series A funding from Maniv Mobility and Mirai Creation Fund. The company will use the funding to accelerate and expand the technological development of its new stand-alone automatic system, built from the ground up to work with automotive hardware and software. Combining video image recognition (2D), depth-mapping (3D), and micro- to macro-motion detection, the solution enables car makers to produce safer, more convenient “passenger-aware” cars.
Guardian Optical Technologies provides cutting-edge optical technologies that can monitor a car’s entire interior cabin with just one sensor, which protects drivers and passengers by scanning and tracking occupants and objects anywhere inside a vehicle at all times. Working in conjunction with seatbelts, airbags, and other built-in safety systems, it detects the slightest movements, including every heartbeat in the vehicle, and identifies the location and physical dimensions of every occupant. Developed with the first technology to detect micro vibrations using low-cost, automotive-grade components, the sensor can also distinguish between people and objects. It can also detect the presence of objects without a direct line of sight, thanks to its micro-meter sensitivity.
Although it offers advanced technology, Guardian Optical Technologies’s system empowers car manufacturers to build safer cars at a lower cost. A conservative estimate puts the savings at $20 per car, which for some auto manufacturers would translate to a $200 million saving per year. The cost-effective system not only eliminates the need to install multiple sensors throughout the car, but is built with low-cost, automotive-grade sensors, using off-the shelf components, so reducing the number of components in the vehicle.
Guardian Optical Technologies has designed a forward-looking system that will transition seamlessly to support future advances in the automotive industry, particularly in autonomous vehicles. In addition to a unique optical set-up, the solution also employs machine learning, with data analysis of real-time, comprehensive “big data” collected on vehicle occupancy, along with image analysis of the sensor’s video feed.
The company is led by co-founder and CEO Gil Dotan, who is widely recognized as an entrepreneur and expert in the automotive field. “In the past two years, car manufacturers have marked Israel as a prime source of advanced technologies,” he says. “For our part, Guardian Optical Technologies enables manufacturers to understand the reality inside the vehicle, in depth. Our vision is to create the ultimate in-vehicle sensing platform, enabling manufacturers to be more aware of passengers so that over time the travel experience will be improved, and the road will become a safer place for us all.”
Michael Granoff, Managing Partner of Maniv Mobility, notes that the market for passenger-aware vehicles is growing rapidly and presents a substantial business opportunity within the current automotive industry. “Guardian Optical Technologies has developed a sophisticated response to the complexities of the automotive world today,” Granoff says. “And beyond that, it has developed a solution that is forward-looking and adaptable enough to meet future needs within the industry—especially the needs of autonomous cars.”
This marks the first time the Mirai Creation Fund, operated by SPARX and funded by 20 companies, including Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., has invested in an Israeli company. “Our mission is to support innovative companies that are well-positioned to grow into the future and lead the way for decades to come,” Shuhei Abe, Group CEO of SPARX, the operator of Mirai Creation Fund comments. “We expect that its technology will continue to evolve and thrive, and we look forward to being a part of its growth.”
About Guardian Optical Technologies
Guardian Optical Technologies is dedicated to enabling “passenger aware” cars with cutting-edge sensor technology that makes cars safer and more convenient. Just one sensor combined with advanced 2D, 3D, and motion analysis protects drivers and passengers by constantly scanning and tracking occupants and objects anywhere in the vehicle. These technologies work with a car’s seatbelts and airbags to sound immediate alerts. The system deploys machine-learning, including image analysis on the sensor’s video feed, as well as “big data” analysis. Committed to providing high value to auto makers today, Guardian Optical Technologies designed its system to effortlessly support future advances in the auto industry, particularly autonomous vehicles. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the tech start-up was founded in 2014. It has won major accelerator competitions sponsored by EcoMotion and Microsoft, and has several patents pending, with other patent applications in progress. For more information, visit www.guardian-optech.com/.
About Maniv Mobility
Maniv Mobility, Israel’s first venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to the new mobility future, has deep connections throughout the global automotive industry, as well as the policy and technology communities. Investing primarily in early-stage Israeli startups, it seeks out ideas around automotive connectivity and data, autonomous vehicle technologies such as sensors and software, and novel business models. With 15 startups already part of its portfolio, Maniv Mobility actively uses its experience, networks and resources to help its founders turn their ideas into great companies. For more information, visit www.maniv.com.
About Mirai Creation Fund
Mirai Creation Fund was established by SPARX Group in 2015 with investments from 20 companies, including Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to encourage innovation and support the spread of advanced technologies for future generations. The fund targets the core fields of artificial intelligence (Al), robotics, and other technologies that would help achieve a hydrogen-based society. Its purpose is to build a portfolio of promising businesses, and realize the potential of technologies and ideas that can transform the future by promoting them on a global scale. For more information, visit https://mirai.sparx.co.jp/en.