Following new investment from key technology partners, San Diego-based AI chip and software developer Kneron is set to acquire Vatics, a leading innovative image signal processing (ISP) technology provider whose cutting-edge ISP SoC and IP have been widely adopted in the surveillance, automotive and consumer markets by top-tier US, Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese companies for many years. Vatics is part of VIVOTEK, a subsidiary of Delta Electronics.
Vatics, which develops image signal processing (ISP) semiconductors, will be acquired as part of an all cash deal worth US$10m. Vatics executives will join Kneron and lead its surveillance and security camera division. Vatics’ technology will be integrated with Kneron’s technology in a new suite of chips, with the first set to launch later this year. Combining Vatics’ state-of-the-art ISPs with Kneron’s leading Neural Processing Unit (NPU) will create a full-stack AI solution for customers.
“We’re proud to welcome Vatics and its technology to the Kneron family,” said Albert Liu, founder and CEO of Kneron. “This is a significant milestone for us at Kneron – in our quest to be the market leader in AI, it’s crucial that we offer a breadth of products to our customers that contain best-in-class technology. This acquisition will allow us to offer full stack AI solutions, along with our current class-leading NPUs, and will significantly speed up our go-to-market strategy.”
Kneron is also announcing further extensions to its Series A funding. As part of the Vatics deal, Delta Electronics is investing US$7m in Kneron. This adds to previous extensions and strategic investment from the likes of Foxconn, Winbond and Weltrend, and Kneron’s initial Series A raise led by Horizons Ventures, with Alibaba, Qualcomm, Sequoia and more. This brings total funding to date to over US$100m.
Sor Shen, general manager of Vatics, said: “We’re proud to join the Kneron family. We believe our technology is a perfect fit for Kneron’s vision, and we’re excited to help Kneron continue to expand its product offerings, especially in the surveillance and automotive industries. Our class-leading ISPs, combined with Kneron’s powerful and efficient NPUs, will provide world-class AI-powered image signal processing capabilities.”
These investments, despite a global semiconductor shortage, highlight investors’ belief in the future of AI at the edge, and the need for innovative new chips to power our futures. With manufacturing giants like Foxconn integrating Kneron’s technology in the future of electric and autonomous vehicles, Kneron is uniquely positioned to power our AI-fueled future.
Kneron recently announced its expansion into the autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle industries. Strategic partnerships with Foxconn (Apple product manufacturer), Otus (supplier for Honda and Toyota) and more ensures Kneron’s technology will be used by the biggest manufacturers in the automotive space. Edge AI solutions are essential for the future of EVs and AVs. Example use cases include significantly improved AI image processing for object and hazard detection, and automated driver assistance solutions (ADAS), all produced at a lower cost, dramatically improving vehicle safety and reducing crashes.
Kneron says its Edge AI solutions are advantageous for EV and AV manufacturers because Edge AI is faster than cloud-reliant AI. Edge AI allows data to be processed on the low-power chips in the car, rather than needing to be sent to the cloud and back. Speed is an important factor for decision making while in traffic. The faster that information is processed and decisions are made the safer the journey will be. The time saved could be the difference between life and death.