FocalPoint, a UK software company that provides next-generation positioning solutions for smartphones, wearables and vehicles, has announced a strategic investment from GM Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Motors (GM), and a collaboration with GM to explore the application of next-generation GPS technologies to the automotive market.
FocalPoint says its ‘Supercorrelation’ technology addresses the critical issue of GPS inaccuracies from current receivers in cities, bringing navigation positioning better in line with modern customer and business demands. The collaboration with GM will focus on possible application of the technology in future vehicles, including potential enhancements and expansion of its Super Cruise advanced hands-free driving assistance technology and its upcoming Ultra Cruise advanced driver assistance system in the coming years.
“FocalPoint’s Supercorrelation technology can make navigation and positioning more precise, especially in dense urban environments, which we believe can have significant benefits for the ongoing growth and capability of ADAS and AV systems,” said Scott Pomerantz, FocalPoint CEO. “We’re delighted to expand our advanced technology into the automotive sector with GM, a leader in advanced driver assistance systems.”
“We’re constantly researching technologies to support and enhance the growth and performance of our vehicles, both within our internal research and development operations and through collaborations with innovators beyond our company,” said Kent Helfrich, president, GM Ventures. “This collaboration with FocalPoint targets a specific aspect of the ongoing expansion of Super Cruise and Ultra Cruise going forward.”
FocalPoint was founded to address the critical issue of GPS inaccuracies of current receivers and bring navigation and positioning better in line with the demands of businesses and individuals in the 21st century.
This latest investment follows the announcement in September of a Series C funding round of £23m (US$27m), led by Molten Ventures and Gresham House Ventures. FocalPoint has also secured funding from the European Space Agency’s NAVISP program to develop a live demonstration and rapid prototyping system to accelerate FocalPoint’s activities in the automotive and smartphone sector.
Having already licensed some of its technologies to u-blox, a leading European manufacturer of wireless communication and positioning technologies, for use in its GNSS receivers, this collaboration signifies FocalPoint’s first steps into the booming automotive market. Currently, it is estimated over US$1tn of the US economy and over €800bn euros of the European economy depend on positioning and timing systems.
Solving the critical issue of GPS inaccuracy and spoofing
FocalPoint’s Supercorrelation technology enables a new class of satellite positioning receiver that can measure the directions of the incoming signals, allowing them to ignore reflected signals and fake ‘spoofed’ signals, making them more accurate in cities and more resilient against spoofing attacks.
Spoofing is used by criminal networks, maritime pirates and fraudsters to broadcast fake satellite signals and confuse the receiver. This is a critical threat to business and consumers, particularly as the criminals become more sophisticated and the cost of spoofing technology comes down.
FocalPoint says its technology can instantly detect fake signals as spoofers, ignore those signals, and pinpoint where in the physical environment the signal is coming from. It is the only consumer-grade product in the market capable of these unique performance characteristics.
“This is a major milestone for FocalPoint as we work with General Motors to explore the deployment of our technologies in EVs and AVs. Accurate positioning for autonomous cars and driver assistance platforms is an opportunity for the industry and we are proud to be providing a much-needed solution,” commented Ramsey Faragher, FocalPoint founder, president and CTO.
In the last year, FocalPoint has almost doubled its headcount across its offices spanning the UK and US and brought in former Broadcom SVP Scott Pomerantz as its new CEO, alongside other senior executives with deep experience in building and scaling technology firms.