World-leading carmakers back new Israeli AI vision start-up

Continental, Toyota AI Ventures, BMW i Ventures and OurCrowd will invest undisclosed sums in the company’s autonomous AI platform.

September 4, 2019 11:59
2 minute read.
An illustration of Cartica AI's autonomous visual intelligence platform

An illustration of Cartica AI's autonomous visual intelligence platform. (photo credit: CARTICA AI/PR)

The artificial intelligence start-up Cortica has partnered with world-leading carmakers and investors to launch Cartica AI, an automotive visual intelligence platform based on self-learning technology.

Continental, Toyota AI Ventures, BMW i Ventures and OurCrowd will invest undisclosed sums in the company’s autonomous AI platform, which aims to increase road safety and lower casualties on global highways.

Founded in 2007, the Tel Aviv-headquartered Cortica has operated for two-and-a-half years in the field of autonomous mobility. The launch of Cartica AI as a separate company seeks to expand the firm’s activities in the automotive sector. Cortica has previously secured more than $69 million in funding, and employs over 100 workers in Tel Aviv, Haifa, New York and Geneva.

“We’re excited to have these leading funds and strategic players on board,” said Cartica AI co-founder and CEO Igal Raichelgauz. “Our goal is to introduce a novel, yet proven, AI approach to the automotive industry, which will pave the way for a safer and more autonomous transportation. Our strategy is to build strong partnerships with leading automotive players in order to bring our solution to the high-volume automotive marketplace by the end of next year. Joining forces with these leading players is another substantial validation of our unique technology and business strategy.”

Cartica AI’s autonomous technology is based on more than a decade of research and development at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, and is protected by over 200 patents. Unlike the conventional AI approach of supervised deep learning, which is heavily based on massive amounts of human-labeled data, the company says its technology enables unsupervised learning from real-world data, resulting in greater accuracy in edge cases and challenging road scenarios. The platform promises high-accuracy visual perception in all weather and lighting conditions, with the ability to recognize and predict the actions of thousands of objects.

“We’re thrilled to invest in Cartica AI,” said Toyota AI Ventures founding managing director Jim Adler. “It’s rare to see a company leverage over a decade of computer vision research and development applied to the toughest problems in autonomous driving. We’ve been impressed with the quality of Cartica’s team, and their unsupervised learning approach to new perception solutions for the automotive market. We look forward to working with them as they power the next generation of mobility AI solutions.”

The technology developed by Cartica AI is installed on a chip designed by Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics, with the company stating that operating the platform requires less than a half-watt of power compared with five to 10 watts among existing solutions including Mobileye. The technology, Cartica AI said, is currently in serial production.

The new company’s operations will be transferred in November from Cortica’s Tel Aviv headquarters to its own new offices, where it is expected to employ 100 developers. The company also plans to open an office in Munich, which will boost its activity in proximity to Europe’s leading automotive manufacturers.

“OurCrowd is very excited to be investing in Cartica,” said OurCrowd senior investment partner Eli Nir. “Cartica AI has a unique mix of a world class technology, team, extremely strong IP portfolio, and a product that offers functional and cost benefits that are currently unheard of in the ADAS ecosystem, not to mention robust market traction that can convert into very sizable deals. We are pleased to be able to help CEO Igal Raichelgauz, his team and other stakeholders in the company to maximize the potential of Cartica.”

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