Sydney-based lidar (light detection and ranging) developer Baraja has passed its driving test with Swedish-American automotive supplier Veoneer, which chose the Australian outfit out of a pool of 70 global peers to help build the next wave of self-driving vehicles.
Founded in 2015 by Federico Collarte and Cibby Pulikkaseril, Baraja has entered an agreement with the tier 1 supplier to industrialise and market its 'Spectrum-Scan' lidar tech to autonomous vehicle customers.
The news comes just months after Baraja's $40 million Series B funding raise led by Blackbird Ventures. Backers include Main Sequence Ventures - CSIRO's investment wing - as well as Sequoia, Prisma, Hitachi, HESTA, Regal Funds Management, Perennial Value Management, and InterValley Ventures.
After extensive testing, Veoneer found Baraja's technology to be robust and was attracted to Spectrum-Scan's potential to be among the smallest-size lidars to enable vehicle integration.
The lidar itself connects to wavelength-tunable laser to prism-like optics, deflecting the light in different directions to achieve scanning with higher reliability and lower cost.
Baraja's random-modulated continuous wave (RMCW) technology also enables industry-leading interference rejection and the ability to measure instantaneous velocity. This gives the company a point of difference compared to competitors with traditional time of flight (ToF) approaches.
"Veoneer is a natural partner for us," says Collarte, who is also Baraja's CEO.
"We built our Spectrum-Scan technology to enable autonomous driving that is safer, more accessible and ready today for the next generation of vehicles," he says.
"By combining our technology with Veoneer's vast experience in automotive design and platform integration, this partnership helps ensure the world's leading automotive brands can bring that autonomous reality to more people."
Veoneer CEO Jan Carlson explains the selection process for the deal was highly competitive.
"We have performed extensive research among 70 lidar technology companies globally and have come to the conclusion that, by partnering with Baraja, Veoneer will be able to offer and integrate scalable automotive-grade lidar-sensors in future cars, at competitive prices," Carlson says.
After three years of development, Baraja formally released its unique lidar technology to the market in mid-2018, followed by its US$32 million Series A funding round in January 2019 led by by Sequoia China and Main Sequence Ventures.
In late 2019 Baraja signed a deal with Japan's Macnica, Inc to partner on vehicle automation opportunities in the Japanese market across a range of industries including trains, delivery vehicles, construction and heavy machinery.
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