Long-range 3D vision technology supplier Nodar has secured US$12m in series A funding led by global venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with participation from existing investor Rhapsody Venture Partners. The company states that the funds will be used for R&D and further productization of its core technology, as well as expanded sales and marketing initiatives.
Nodar’s long-range, high-resolution, real-time camera-based software targets SAE L2+ and L3 passenger vehicle advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) as well as L4 trucks and robotaxis. Combined, these markets are projected to reach 250 million vehicles between 2025 and 2030. As an alternative to lidar in L2+ and L3 automotive applications, and as the dominant 3D sensor in an L4 sensor fusion environment, Nodar’s technology has the potential to fundamentally disrupt the industry, the company says.
Its flagship product, Hammerhead, leverages advances in processing, computer vision algorithms and camera technology to produce ultra-precise 3D point clouds from two or more cameras. Its algorithms maintain alignment between cameras mounted independently on the vehicle, offering OEMs flexibility on where to locate the cameras. This auto-calibration capability not only ensures reliable depth measurements despite road and vehicle vibrations, but also enables the cameras to be mounted far apart, which improves the range and accuracy of the vision system through wide-baseline triangulation.
Hammerhead utilizes “off-the-shelf” automotive-grade cameras and standard compute platforms to deliver sensing beyond 1,000m. With cameras mounted on the roof of a passenger vehicle, Hammerhead has demonstrated the ability to detect a 10cm brick at 150 meters.
“Every AV needs super reliable 3D information to understand its surroundings and make safe decisions,” said Greg Papadopoulos venture partner at NEA. “In the passenger vehicle market, price matters, too. At NEA, we have been following dozens of sensor and perception startups, and were amazed at what Nodar has accomplished in software using off-the-shelf cameras and how it has addressed complex industry requirements. We are thrilled to partner with Leaf and the Nodar team as they redefine 3D sensing and perception.”