State Farm Ventures invests in Owl AI
3D thermal imaging for automotive active safety systems
Owl Autonomous Imaging, a Silicon Valley Thermal Imaging Startup with Offices in Rochester, NY, ‘The Image Capital of the World’, Secures $15 Million in Series-A Funding for Next Generation Pedestrian Automotive Safety with the World’s Only Monocular 3D Thermal Sensor Solution.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, January 24, 2022 – Owl Autonomous Imaging (Owl AI), a developer of patented monocular 3D thermal imaging and ranging solutions for automotive active safety systems, today announced $15 million in Series A funding led by State Farm Ventures. Additional participation in the round included Excell Partners, Luminate NY Accelerator, Empire State Development, MHNW Consortium, Dr. Sanjay Jha, (former CEO of both GlobalFoundries and Motorola Mobility), as well as others.
The foundation of Owl’s patented technology is an adaptation of a thermal ranging solution developed under a challenge grant from the US Air Force to track missiles in flight traveling at over 1,000 mph. The solution to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV) requires redundancy and diversity, maximized across a 3D image map. Owl has developed a patented 3D Thermal Ranging™ camera, the world's only solid-state camera delivering HD thermal video with high precision ranging for safe autonomous vehicle operation.
“Of the 1.35 million people killed worldwide in car accidents every year, more than half were outside of the vehicle (pedestrians, cyclists, or motorcyclists,)” said Owl CEO Chuck Gershman. “At Owl, we are all about safety, especially pedestrian safety, Owl’s 3D thermal ranging solutions enable the identification of pedestrians, animals, and cyclists far sooner than any other system on the road today, and we do it day or night, and in foul weather. Simply stated, we save lives; we save lots of lives.”
The current de-facto ADAS sensor suites typically comprise mutually dependent visible-light cameras and radar, but when one of these sensors becomes ineffective, so too does the entire sensor suite. This scenario happens often, especially when it comes to pedestrians, cyclists, and animals at night or in inclement weather. Owl has created a new modality known as monocular 3D thermal ranging that dramatically improves pedestrian safety. The system is based on specialty HD thermal imaging and innovative computer vision algorithms. Operating in the thermal spectrum these algorithms exploit angular, temporal and intensity data to produce ultra-dense point clouds and highly refined object classification.
“Preventing car accidents of any kind is of critical concern,” said Michael Remmes, Vice President, State Farm Ventures, “Owl’s technology is a potential compelling advancement in active safety detection and avoidance of collisions. We are excited to support Owl’s efforts to bring these advancements to the automotive community.”
“Luminate Accelerator is excited to support Class of 2021 Owl Autonomous Imaging. Harnessing integrated photonics, Owl represents the future of transportation,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate Accelerator.
Owl is also a Portfolio Company of Silicon Catalyst, the world's only incubator for semiconductor startups. Industry authority Semiconductor Review named Silicon Catalyst a Top 10 in 2021 for semiconductor manufacturing solutions. CEO Pete Rodriguez commented, "Given Owl's executive and technical team pedigree, they are the infrared and thermal imaging experts in the industry, and we are excited about their innovative technology solution.”
Owl recently completed field trials in conjunction with VSI Labs on the streets of Las Vegas, NV during #CES2022. Owl will be showcasing its field trial results along with live demonstrations at this week’s Photonics West Conference in San Francisco. Owl a recent winner of the Luminate Challenge will be showcasing their solution in the Luminate booth #3010.
Owl has recently been recognized by Aragon Research as a Hot Company in computer vision for 2021 and also took home the 2021 Silver Award from AutoSens for the Most Innovative Application or Deployment of Computer Vision.
About Owl Autonomous Imaging – Owl AI:
Owl Autonomous Imaging is all about safety. When it comes to mobility, safety starts with perception. It’s patented suite of thermal sensor technologies, computer vision algorithms and specialty optics aim to dramatically reduce both on road automotive and off-road industrial and agricultural accidents to reduce fatalities and injury.
About State Farm Ventures, LLC:
State Farm Ventures focuses on investing in startups developing technologies and products to fulfill customer needs in ways they may not expect from their insurance company. State Farm Ventures, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary and registered trade mark of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.
For over 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and 67,000 employees serve over 91 million policies and accounts – including auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 44 on the 2023 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.