FiveAI announces $2.7m in equity funding to apply strong artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles
Company’s fully autonomous system will adopt a perceive-as-it-goes approach to side-step the need to build and maintain detailed prior 3D maps
London, UK – July 13, 2016 – FiveAI, a UK start-up which is using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to accelerate the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles, announces its initial $2.7M of equity funding.
The funding, led by Amadeus Capital Partners with Spring Partners and Notion Capital, will enable FiveAI to grow its team, step-up its development and begin simulator and road testing of its software, as the company applies several of the latest AI technologies to solving the most complex problems in the autonomous vehicle space.
Early approaches to autonomous vehicles have required accurate, 3D prior maps built using point cloud technology so that at runtime each vehicle can correlate against the prior map to accurately localise itself and establish a track to follow. Now FiveAI is planning a system using much stronger AI and ML to ensure that autonomous vehicles can safely and accurately navigate all environments, including complex urban ones, with simpler maps. That approach will avoid the need to survey, maintain and share detailed 3D maps of the 37.2 million km of paved and unpaved road networks across the world. Instead, FiveAI’s technology aims to deliver a safe, reliable and verifiable solution by combining supervised, semi-supervised and unsupervised learning techniques to build a real-time accurate view of the world. This enhanced perception capability is key to enabling FiveAI to then apply further advanced AI technologies to better predict the actions and interactions between entities and use that prediction to establish the actions of the vehicle itself.
FiveAI expects to provide its software to major players in the mobility industry worldwide, including automotive OEMs, automotive industry suppliers, rental companies and transportation operators in both public and private spheres.
“Full autonomy will revolutionise the automotive and transportation sectors, enabling all of us to enjoy a low-cost, low-congestion and high-convenience mobility,” said Stan Boland, CEO of FiveAI. “Computer vision can, for the first time, be superior to human abilities and we will build such a capability. But safe and effective autonomous vehicles need more than just super-human perception. Humans use a variety of subtle cues and gestures to anticipate traffic events so our technology will do the same, ensuring equipped vehicles will be both safe and decisive in complex urban traffic environments.”
“Amadeus is very excited by the investment opportunity arising from advances in autonomous vehicles,” said Hermann Hauser, co-founder and partner at Amadeus Capital. “FiveAI has a world-class technology founding team which we have backed three times before and which has successfully built and exited companies worth over $1B.”
Hauser continues, “Europe is home to many of the world’s top automotive OEMs and transportation operators, and the UK in particular is a hotbed for emerging AI and machine-learning talent. We’re excited to support this team in building a European powerhouse for autonomous vehicle technology, through the use of machine learning and state-of-the-art university research to revolutionise the guidance systems for autonomous vehicles.”
FiveAI’s goal is to deliver complete or “Level 5” autonomy. According to SAE standards, currently the most advanced commercially available vehicles are considered to be Level 1 or Level 2 at most, because the human driver is required to monitor the driving environment at all times, and fulfil all aspects of driving apart from some steering and acceleration/deceleration in certain circumstances (e.g. lane assist and adaptive cruise control). FiveAI’s goal is to deliver a solution to power full, Level 5 autonomy, which describes vehicles operating safely in complex urban environments without any driver involvement whatsoever.
Recent research into artificial intelligence has made autonomous technology possible. FiveAI’s highly experienced team of engineers are building on this research to implement the complex software brain of tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles. This software must be robust in all potential mobility environments and situations; being aware of other road users likely actions before they happen and ensuring that vehicles powered by our software drive safely and just as other road users would expect. We provide this software for use by mobility service market participants, from vehicle OEMs to transportation operators. For more information, please visit http://www.five.ai/
About the Founders of FiveAI
Stan Boland co-founded and was CEO of two of Europe’s most successful VC-backed communications silicon and software companies: Element 14 Inc. and Icera Inc., bought by Broadcom (NASDAQ: BRCM) and NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) respectively, for an aggregate value of over $1B. He has previously served as CEO at computer pioneer Acorn and was a member of the board at ARM Holdings plc (LSE: ARM and NASDAQ: ARMH). He is a graduate in Physics from the University of Cambridge.
Boland co-founded FiveAI with five others, including Steve Allpress, who will serve as CTO and VP System Engineering, John Redford , who will serve as VP Architecture and Scene Engineering and Ben Peters, who will serve as VP Marketing. Steve was CTO at Icera Inc and went on to serve as SVP Mobile Communications at NVIDIA. John was CTO at Acorn, VP Software at Element 14 Inc and then served as Director for Broadcom’s Cambridge software facility. Ben spent 6 years with NXP Semiconductor’s automotive group before joining internet of things pioneer Neul as VP Marketing which was acquired in 2014 by Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
About Amadeus Capital
Amadeus Capital Partners is a global technology investor. Since its inception in 1997, the firm has raised over $1B for investment and backed more than 100 companies in the software, mobile, internet, cyber security and medical technology sectors. The investment team is based in India, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA, has deep experience in technology and invests in high-growth companies from early stage to pre-IPO.
Major businesses built by Amadeus include CSR, a connectivity, audio, imaging and location semiconductor company, now owned by Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM); Solexa, the developer of next generation genetic analysis systems, merged into Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) to create the world leader in gene-sequencing technology; Optos, the retinal imaging company, acquired by Nikon; ForeScout, a global enterprise security vendor; Octo Telematics, the provider of insurance telematics services acquired by Renova Group; and Tobii, the global innovator in eye tracking (STO: TOBII). For more information, please visit http://www.amadeuscapital.com
About Spring Partners
Spring Partners is a London-based seed investment fund founded in late 2015. The founding team brings a combination of deep operating, founding, and investing experience into the partnership. Uniquely, Spring shares the upside of the fund with the entrepreneurs that they back – turning founders into partners, in every sense of the word. Spring actively builds services for their community of founders, and applies experience, enthusiasm, and energy to company building at the earliest and highest impact stage.
For more information, please visit http://www.springpartners.co
About Notion Capital
Notion is an entrepreneur-backed venture capital firm focused on high potential businesses in the Enterprise Cloud and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) markets. The Notion team has unique expertise and experience in the Cloud-based software market having founded, built and exited two highly successful businesses in the space – Star and MessageLabs. Companies within Notion’s portfolio include Adbrain, Currency Cloud, Dealflo, Duedil, GoCardless, Move Guides, NewVoiceMedia, Tradeshift and Workable.
For more information, please visit http://www.notioncapital.com
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