BrightWay Vision, a spinoff of Israel-based Elbit systems, developing a ‘Gated Imaging’ system for vehicles, announced today the addition of strategic and venture capital investors and the completion of a $25 million (Rs 172 crore) financing round. This is the company's Round B of investment, which will be mainly used to commercialise the technology in order to allow mass production. The investment is made by the world's largest automotive headlight manufacturer, Koito manufacturing company of Japan, and Israel’s Magenta Venture Partners.
The system developed by BrightWay Vision enables imaging in poor visibility: darkness and harsh weather conditions - rain, snow and fog. The system incorporates a CMOS sensor and a light source that is installed in the vehicle and produces a clear image for the full range from 0-250 meters. The solution slices this range into several sections and allows for computer vision to analyse each section individually and produce an image. The technology will enable artificial intelligence (AI) to operate at night and under poor visibility and detect even small debris on the road. The company holds 25 registered patent families.
The product has been matured both in price and in performance and claims to answer an unresolved problem of imaging under difficult visibility conditions in the field of autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Brightway also claims that the prototypes have been successfully tested by leading OEMs and Tier1s from around the world.
Koito is a global leader in the development, production and marketing of automotive headlights and has conducted thorough experiments with BrightWay Vision's technology. The experiments proved to be successful and led to a decision to strategically invest in the company and help accelerate the penetration of the product into the global automotive markets.
Ofer David, CEO and co-founder, BrightWay Vision, said: "We are extremely pleased with the investment of Koito and Magenta and the value they bring. The cooperation and investment of Koito, a leading global manufacturer of automotive equipment, demonstrate the solid relationship and the trust in our solution and paves the way for market penetration within a short time. The funding will be used for commercialisation of our unique technology and enable us to expand research and development activities."
Koito's senior managing director Hideharu Konagaya, who will be joining the company's board of directors said: "The efforts of our partnership will bring BrightWay Vision's autonomous vision solution to our OEM customers. BrightWay Vision's technology will be integrated with Koito products to offer a complete and reliable all-weather, 24/7 solution for automakers. We also look forward to partnering with Elbit Systems and the company's other investors in making Brightway Vision a game-changing solution."
Ori Israely, managing partner, Magenta partner venture, who will also be joining the company's board of directors said: "We are excited to partner with Koito and support BrightWay Vision's team as they develop the most advanced technological solutions for the L2 to L5 autonomous vehicle challenges. In an industry packed with many LiDAR, RADAR and other sensor companies, it was refreshing to find a company innovating on the complete array of driving conditions. We believe BrightWay Vision's technology will enable a huge leap forward. Also, this is a pioneering investment from a Japanese giant, which signifies trust in the technology and potential."
Joseph Gaspar, chief financial officer at Elbit Systems, said: "We are pleased with the investment of KOITO and Magenta in BrightWay Vision. I believe that their commitment will allow the company to accelerate commercialization and scale rapidly in the market."