SiLC Raises $17M Series A Funding Round to Advance Machine Vision Applications
Developer of Industry’s First Integrated FMCW Imaging Chip on Track to Revolutionize 3D Sensing Market
“SiLC’s technology is a game changer, their solution enables legacy based LiDAR’s transition towards FMCW, their highly integrated solution enables scalability and shrink-ability and at scale”
Kris Peng, UMC Capital
“Building on its silicon photonics expertise, the SiLC team takes an innovative, fully solid-state approach to LiDAR. Its FMCW solution makes autonomy safer in various environments thanks to its long-range and high-resolution sensing. Our investment in SiLC further expands our Mobility portfolio, and we look forward to SiLC growing its business across the automotive, robotics and industrial markets.”
Gen Tsuchikawa, Sony Innovation Fund
“We are focused on advancing our position at the forefront of LiDAR technology, and thus understand the impact of SILC’s approach will have to enable human-like perception across autonomous driving, robotics, smart cameras and beyond.We are impressed by the team’s accomplishments in silicon photonics and the unprecedented level of integration and scalability of their FMCW chip, which will be key for broad adoption of coherent 3D sensing.”
Sebastian Stamm, Fluxunit – OSRAM Ventures
Creating a new vision for a smarter future
The possibilities that exist when you start making things smarter are infinite. More advanced products. Fewer auto fatalities. Better jobs. A safer world. Increased convenience. More time to spend on the important things.
SiLC envisions a better, smarter future. We’re on a mission to enable machines to see like humans. Making machine perception more like human perception, and we’re doing it through longer range, higher resolution, more data and more integration.
Conventional imaging solutions are based on the use of an image sensor to convert photons to electrons directly to establish an image. This immediate conversion process ignores a wealth of information the photons carry in their phase, wavelength and polarization.
SiLC’s solution called “Smart Vision,” integrates all required functionality, such as a coherent light source and optical signal processing, to enable significant additional information to be extracted from the returning photons before their conversion to electrons. Our vision sensor can therefore enable multiple additional dimensions such as depth, velocity and polarization. Furthermore, the coherent approach taken improves achievable accuracy by orders of magnitude over existing technologies.
SiLC’s 4D+ Vision Chip, exceeds performance metrics – such as range, resolution and accuracy – offered by most LiDARs. Our 4D+ Vision Chip accomplishes this in a much smaller footprint, while adding critical vector measurements such as velocity, light polarization, and reflectivity. This is the essential information that is derived from context and influences how the environment is perceived, and has broad applications for autonomous vehicles, biometrics and security, robotics, and more.
A new era of smarter automation
3D vision solutions, through LiDAR technology, are transforming our world - but their applications are limited due to cost and size, and mainly focused on automotive.
SiLC is the first company to reduce the essential components required for a coherent system into a single chip. This is done through a proprietary silicon-based semiconductor fabrication process and standard, automated IC style assembly processes, enabling robust, cost-effective and compact solutions.
As the only company to prove out full FMCW chip integration under the microscope, SiLC is opening the door for smarter automation in applications ranging from cars robotics to security, AR/VR and biometric scanning.
Autonomous Vehicles need to be able to detect a low reflectivity object, like a tire on the road, up to 300 m out in order to perform an adequate evasive maneuver. A high resolution long range LiDAR is essential for this market to develop.
Lidar sensors for Robotics Vehicles and Level 3/4/5 advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are expected to grow to a $13B market size by 2027*.
Biometrics & Security
3D face identification has transformed the mobile phone industry and is expected to change the way we check-in for flights, rent cars, or get money from ATMs.
This is expected to be a $14B market by 2024*.
Industrial & Robotics
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are expected to drive the next industrial revolution. These technologies rely on highly accurate data that require sophisticated vision sensors.
The industrial and commercial 3D sensor market is going to grow to $2B in size by 2023*.
*) Source: Yole Research 2018
Current 3D vision technologies rely on high power lasers at the 905 nanometer wavelength and highly sensitive detectors, using a Time of Flight (TOF) architecture. These early technologies have performed adequately to enable early deployments in autonomous vehicle trials. However, costly assembly processes have limited their resolution and cost effective scaling, eye safety concerns have restricted their range and multiuser cross-talk will most likely hamper their widespread usage. It is broadly accepted that a transition to Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) technology at 1550 nanometer wavelength is needed to address eye safety regulatory concerns and enable volume deployment with minimal multi-user interference. Extensive usage of this approach has been prevented in the past due to the cost and number of components needed. SiLC's silicon photonics integration platform offers a cost effective solution by integrating all the high performance components needed into a single silicon chip through mature semiconductor fabrication processes offering a low cost, compact, and low power solution. Silicon manufacturing offers affordable high volume scaling of complex devices and technologies.
FMCW LiDAR on Chip
SiLC’s economic breakthrough relies on the full integration of all the photonics functions, including lasers and detectors, into a single chip. Utilizing frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) at the 1550nm wavelength, SiLC’s optical engine represents the future of LiDAR in which safety, performance and range dramatically increase, while full integration enables a low-cost, compact footprint.
Central Vision Processor
SiLC’s fully integrated LiDAR chips can be sprinkled around the car or used to create a Central Vision Processing unit that can be placed in a convenient and protected location.
The Central Vision Processor approach scales with lens optics and sensor resolution and enables unparalleled design flexibility.
Working in tandem with well established partners, SiLC utilizes a fully qualified fabrication process and proven, highly automated photonics assembly and manufacturing techniques. With over 20 years of manufacturing experience we work closely with our ecosystem of partners to offer customers full flexibility over design and operational parameters to enable the right application focused performance trade-offs.
A Heritage of Manufacturing Innovative Solutions at Scale
From electrons to optical integration, our team has been focused on photonics for the past 25 years. Our deep, rich heritage in analog and silicon photonics has enabled us to develop a significant body of intellectual property, as well as a proprietary process for manufacturing high-performance optical components at large scale.
Dr. Mehdi Asghari
President & CEO
Over 20 years in silicon photonics Industry and his 3rd silicon photonic startup. First two successful IPO and commercial sale
Ralf J. Muenster
VP, Business Development and Marketing
Former Texas Instruments director with over 20 years experience commercializing and growing differentiated high tech businesses and expanding customer and partnership engagements.
Dr. Jonathan Luff
VP, Research and Development
20 years in silicon photonics Industry and his 3rd silicon photonic startup. Proven track record of product development, qualification and manufacturing transfer
Mr. Wayne White
VP, Fab Operations
40 years in SC industry with small and large entities as well as process development, manufacturing and operations. His 3rd silicon photonics startup
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423 E Huntington Drive
Monrovia, CA 91016
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