Germany-based Scantinel Photonics, a startup developing next-gen Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for autonomous vehicles, announced on Thursday that it has raised €10M in its extended Series A round of funding.
The investment came from Netherlands-based PhotonDelta and current investors Scania Growth Capital and ZEISS Ventures.
LiDAR on Chip solution
Based out of Ulm, Germany, Scantinel Photonics is a Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) sensing technology company offering next-gen LiDAR solutions for autonomous mobility.
Founded in 2019 by Andy Zott, Vladimir Davydenko and Dr.-Ing. Jan Horn, the company aims to make mobility safe by offering “outstanding” FMCW LiDAR technologies. In order to detect and avoid obstacles, track objects, and perform Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM), Scantinel’s method of using FMCW LiDAR sensors is a crucial part of autonomous driving.
The company’s Optical Enhanced Array (OEA) system delivers scanning results, with an effective detection range of more than 300 meters. Scantinel says, “Our unique LiDAR on Chip solution at 1550nm can be integrated anywhere. With a detection range over 300 meters, it is designed for mass production and will be available to the industry at a very competitive price.”
Scantinel’s LiDAR system can effectively deal with bad weather conditions, such as fog, rain, snow, etc., and coherent ranging is not interfered with by other LiDAR systems or external light sources (sunlight). In addition, direct velocity information is acquired instantly for every single measured pixel.
Such an advanced combination brings safety awareness to an unprecedented level, says the company.
Scantinel will use the funds to roll out its FMCW LiDAR devices to customers. According to the company, LiDAR is more accurate and precise than other technologies like RADAR and RGB cameras in mapping and object detection. It also has greater resistance to interference. LiDAR devices, however, have not yet proven a realistic replacement due to their size, cost, or production challenges.
By using photonic chips, which use light instead of electrons to transfer information in microchips, Scantinel’s FMCW LiDAR solution has the power, affordability and mass production scalability to enable LiDAR to have broad application across industry and mobility.
With higher resolution and solid-state scanning, the technology offers a detection range that is more than 300m. Scantinel has signed a number of partnerships with major global automotive, mobility and industrial companies.
What are Photonic chips or PICs?
Photonic chips, also called photonic integrated circuits (PICs), integrate photonic functions into microchips to create smaller, faster and more energy-efficient devices. PICs can sense, process and transmit data much more effectively than their electronic counterparts.
Just like the traditional chips, the production process is carried out using automatic wafer-scale technology. This allows the chips to be mass-produced, reducing costs. Crucially, PICs can overcome the expected limit to Moore’s Law and will also help tackle energy sustainability issues.
The lack of accessible sensors that can support autonomous driving at different phases will be the major hurdle facing the automobile industry in the near future. The possibilities for self-driving transportation are expanding because of the benefits of photonic chips (weight, speed, and affordability). This has positive implications for road safety and lost travel time is made available again. The control of conventional automobiles and the battery management in EVs can both benefit from photonics. For the aircraft industry, the emphasis is on sensor systems.
Ewit Roos, CEO of PhotonDelta, says, “Photonic chips are a next-generation chip technology which will bring new innovations like FMCW LiDAR on CHIP to life and we are excited to ride along this journey with Scantinel. We see the investment in Scantinel as a perfect fit to grow and strengthen our photonics ecosystem.”
Brief about PhotonDelta
PhotonDelta researches, designs, develops and manufactures solutions with integrated photonics technology. Connecting pioneers in the field with investors, and viable markets, the firm helps to take the industry forward with funding, investments and R&D roadmaps.
With this investment, PhotonDelta advances in its goal of creating a European photonics ecosystem. In order to expand production, launch 200 startups, develop new uses for photonic chips, and build infrastructure and talent, PhotonDelta obtained €1.1B in public and private funding in April.
Andy Zott, MD and co-founder of Scantinel, says, “We see a great value in having PhotonDelta as an additional investor and we are looking forward to maximising the collaborations and benefits from PhotonDelta’s leading integrated photonics ecosystem.”