Luxury carmaker Porsche invests in Israeli start-up TriEye

TriEye has developed short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera technology improving the ability of vehicles fitted with assistance systems or autonomous driving functions to see in poor weather conditions.

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August 22, 2019 03:16
2 minute read.
Porsche Panamera 4S

Porsche Panamera 4S . (photo credit: PORSCHE)

Luxury German carmaker Porsche has acquired a minority stake in Tel Aviv-based sensing technology start-up TriEye, the companies announced on Wednesday.

Porsche Ventures, the corporate venture capital unit of the car manufacturer, will invest a sum of $2 million in TriEye, bringing the semiconductor start-up’s Series A funding round led by Intel Capital to $19 million.

Founded in 2016, TriEye has developed short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera technology improving the ability of vehicles fitted with assistance systems or autonomous driving functions to see in poor weather conditions.

The company’s technology is based on almost a decade of advanced research in nano-photonics performed by TriEye CTO Prof. Uriel Levy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The company says its “unique” semiconductor design makes it possible to manufacture SWIR HD cameras at a much lower cost.

“TriEye is a promising technology company led by an exceptionally strong team with experience in the areas of nano-photonics, deep learning and the development of semi-conductor components,” said Michael Steiner, member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “We see great potential in this sensor technology that paves the way for the next generation of driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions. SWIR can be a key element: it offers enhanced safety at a competitive price.”

TriEye founders (L-R) Uriel Levy, Avi Bakal, and Omer Kapach (Credit: Porsche AG)

The investment comes as part of TriEye’s current Series A financing round, which was led by Intel Capital together with other investors including Marius Nacht and Israeli venture capital fund Grove Ventures, in which Porsche has held shares since 2017.

“Our mission is to save lives and reduce risks of accidents in all weather and lighting conditions,” said TriEye CEO and co-founder Avi Bakal. “The expansion of our Series A round and the addition of Porsche as a strategic investor serves as a further proof that SWIR is a critical component in the necessary sensor fusion solution to enable safer and better advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles.”

In addition to TriEye, Porsche has also invested in Tel Aviv-based artificial intelligence software developer Anagog and eight-figure sums in venture capital funds Magma and Grove Ventures.

In June 2017, Porsche announced the establishment of an innovation office in Israel, seeking to guarantee access to local technologies and talent.


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