Point One Navigation raises $ 10 million to bring its precise tracking technology to all vehicles – TechCrunch


Drivers who spend time getting around in a new car or truck have likely experienced ping-pong – a phenomenon when a vehicle equipped with an advanced driver assistance system struggles to navigate. center in a lane and move back and forth until it finds that perfect spot.

Point One Navigation entered the scene in 2016 with technology that eliminates this and other issues that arise when a vehicle is not in the exact place it is supposed to be. The San Francisco-based startup has developed an accurate location API that can be applied to any vehicle that moves, from city air taxis and drones to scooters, ADAS-equipped vehicles, autonomous vehicles and even equipment. agricultural.

“Location is one of the pillars of robotics that needs to be addressed,” CEO and co-founder Aaron Nathan said in a recent interview. “Every company, whether they’re trying to build a robot to pick weeds in a field or drive down the highway, has a team of engineers trying to figure out, where the hell is the thing? We said, “What if we could just take this problem off the table and solve it generically for all of these use cases and really let our customers focus on their application?” “

Specifically, Point One’s technology combines the augmented Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), computer vision and sensor fusion in one API. This means that thanks to an API, a drone manufacturer, robotics startup or trucking company can know where their vehicle is, up to 10 centimeters away. Point One demonstrated its technology at the autonomous racing car event in October with an autonomous vehicle that drove a Thunderhill Raceway Park course in reverse.

Their product, which will begin marketing in 2020, has attracted a number of investors who see an opportunity in its wide application in transportation – and even in other industries, including consumer electronics. Point One recently closed a $ 10 million Series A funding round led by UP.Partners, with participation from existing investors including BOLT, IA Ventures and Ludlow Ventures.

There is technology today that provides what Nathan describes as a partial location service. It can tell someone the general area where a robot is in a large agricultural field or it can work in some areas and not in others. Point One is able to provide customers with an accuracy of 10 centimeters anywhere in the world.

Today, Point One’s product, which started shipping about a year ago, is in series production with two anonymous automotive customers. In these automotive applications, Point One is able to deploy this technology as a software product, as new vehicles now have the hardware already required. With other customers, for example a scooter company, Point One may also need to include a chipset.

The company initially focused on automotive, including applying to advanced level 2 driver assistance systems. The 20-person company is now focused on expanding into new segments, including micromobility. Point One also has production agreements with agricultural customers – think “smart” tractors – as well as in the drone delivery segment.

It also targets what Nathan described as “emerging developers,” people working on products that may not be fully developed.

“The question is how do we grow very quickly in those markets and make sure everyone is aware that Point One can just fix this for you – and you don’t have to boil that part of the ocean? “Nathan said.

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