Porsche invests in autonomous vehicle sensor startup

German automaker Porsche has acquired a minority stake in TriEye, an Israeli startup working on a sensor technology to help vehicle driver-assistance and self-driving systems see better in poor weather conditions. (Porsche)

With an eye on the autonomous vehicle market, German automaker Porsche has acquired a minority stake in TriEye, an Israeli startup that’s working on a sensor technology to help vehicle driver-assistance and self-driving systems see better in poor weather conditions like dust, fog and rain, according to an online article on TechCrunch.

The strategic investment is part of a Series A financing round, initially led by Intel Capital and Israeli venture fund Grove Ventures. Porsche has held shares in Grove Ventures since 2017.

Founded in 2017, TriEye has patent-pending technology that promises to solve the low visibility problem created by poor weather conditions. The startup’s co-founders argue that existing sensors such as radar, LiDAR and standard cameras don’t solve this problem. The company believes the answer centers on short-wave infrared (SWIR) sensors.

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TriEye has developed an HD SWIR camera that is smaller, has higher resolution, and is less expensive than other technologies. The camera is due to launch in 2020. The technology is based on advanced nano-photonics research by Uriel Levy, a TriEye co-founder and CTO who is a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Michael Steiner, a Porsche AG board member focused on R&D, believes TriEye’s technology has strong promise. “We see great potential in this sensor technology that paves the way for the next generation of driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions,” Steiner said in a statement. “SWIR can be a key element; it offers enhanced safety at a competitive price.”

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