Recogni, a new company creating artificial intelligence hardware for autonomous vehicles, recently left stealth mode with the support of several major players from within the auto industry.
Prior to launching the company several companies, including GreatPoint Ventures, BMW i Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, and Faurecia SA all chipped into a fund raising round worth $25 million. Recogni also raised funds during a seeding round for an unknown amount to help as well.
Based out of California, the company developed a piece of hardware that allows self-driving cars to sense and "see" what's around them. Using a self-made application for their integrated circuits and hardware, it'll take information from self-driving sensors into something a navigation system can utilize. AI within the hardware will spot and identify cars that are close by as well as people and anything else the vehicle needs to be aware of.
This piece of hardware will gather information about the environment around the car from three cameras as well as a series of lidar and/or radar sensors on the outside of the vehicle. The hardware in the car will use the sensors to supplement what the cameras see around the car.
The company wants to compete with others like Nvidia who are developing a use their hardware to support sensor systems in autonomous vehicles. What Recogni hopes to do is focus on efficiency.
With their own custom chip, Recogni's hardware can operate at over 1,000 tera operations every second while only using five watts of power. The company says their system is around 500 times more powerful than other options on the market for autonomous developers.
The power efficiency especially would be important for interpreting data from sensors since it tends to be the most resource heavy portion of running an autonomous car. By saving power from sensor data more resources can be utilized elsewhere in the car and make self-driving vehicles more efficient overall.
Recogni's hardware creates this efficiency for several reasons. The company uses passive cooling to avoid using a fan that requires a lot of power and their hardware is placed closer to the car's three cameras. With the cameras closer to the hardware the power needed to interrupt sensor data is lowered.
The company claims they are currently talking to several companies who are potentially interested in buying their system. The head of Recogni's AI, Gilles Backhus, recently stated that they hope to make their system available by next year for around $200. He stated they expect the system's cost to lower as they increase their production rate.
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