General Motors backed radar software developer Oculii to be acquired by Silicon Valley computer vision company Ambarella Inc. – FutureCar.com

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author: Eric Walz

Ambarella Inc. (Nasdaq: AMBA), a Silicon Valley-based semiconductor developer for high-definition video compression and computer vision processing, announced this week that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Oculii Corp, a A Dayton, Ohio-based AI software company backed by automaker General Motors.

Oculii is a developer of adaptive AI software algorithms that improve the resolution of radar used for autonomous vehicle perception systems. The company’s technology can improve the resolution of low-cost radars up to 100 times without increasing the physical number of antennas, dramatically improving range and accuracy.

Last month, Ocullii co-founder and CEO Steven Hong said GM’s venture capital arm had invested “millions of dollars” in the company. The investment was first reported by Reuters.

Oculii has developed what it calls “virtual aperture imaging software”, which can increase the resolution of any standard radar platform. The AI-powered software cleans up images rendered by a vehicle’s radar. The technology can be used to enhance the perception systems of vehicles equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or autonomous driving capabilities.

More importantly, the technology can lead to more cost effective radar solutions for the automotive industry, as the resolution of low cost radar sensors can be improved using software, as opposed to the use of radar sensors. more expensive and higher resolution with higher power requirements.

“Joining Ambarella will allow Oculii to expand the development of our radar technology while leveraging our synergies as part of this leading AI vision and processor company,” said Hong, CEO of Oculii. “We look forward to working with our customers and silicon partners to provide comprehensive AI perception solutions, based on the combined strengths of our innovative engineering teams and advanced radar and computer vision technologies. “

Radar is an important sensor for autonomous vehicles. It is used for both perception and navigation. When radar data is combined with cameras and lidar sensors, it can help identify other vehicles and road users, as well as measure the speed and direction of an object. Radar also performs better in low light conditions than cameras, giving it an advantage over perception systems based on cameras to detect objects at night.

The acquisition of Oculii will expand Ambarella’s addressable market for radar perception and fusion with its own portfolio of AI-powered computer vision perception SoCs for automotive and other applications, such as the robotics.

Ambarella’s technology makes cameras smarter with AI-powered computer vision processing. It enables features such as pedestrian detection, object classification and performs complex data analysis of real-time images.

Ambarella’s chip architecture is called “CVflow,” which is based on a deep understanding of computer vision algorithms, according to the company. It combines high resolution imaging and neural network processing in a single integrated platform.

Unlike CPUs and GPUs, CVflow includes a dedicated vision processing engine that enables the enterprise architecture to scale performance to trillions of operations per second (TOPS) with extremely low power consumption.

Using CVflow, developers can map their own convolutional neural networks (CNNs) trained with standard tools like Caffe, TensorFlow, and PyTorch to run on Ambarella processors.

Ambarella plans to merge its camera technology with Oculii’s radar software stack to provide an all-weather, low-cost, scalable perception solution, enabling higher levels of range for Tier 1 automakers and OEMs. whole world.

“The Oculii team brings excellent synergies with Ambarella’s algorithm-based approach and our ongoing initiatives to intelligently merge sensor data into cutting-edge AI systems,” said Fermi Wang, President and CEO of Ambarella. “We expect that Oculii’s unique adaptive radar perception algorithms, combined with Ambarella’s vision and AI processing, will unlock higher levels of perception accuracy than ever before with solutions discreet camera and radar. “

The acquisition will help Ambarella expand its reach into the automotive space. The demand for automotive grade radar and vision systems is increasing as automakers introduce more and more vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities.

Oculii is committed with 10 of the top 15 Tier 1s in software licensing and has business development contracts with leading OEM and AV companies whose production programs are slated to begin in 2023.

In March, Ambarella announced that Movement, the autonomous driving joint venture of automaker Hyundai and Aptiv, has selected its CVflow family of AI processors for its driverless vehicles.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the acquisition, but it is still subject to customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be finalized by January 31, 2022.

The financial Terms of the contract are not disclosed.

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