[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]
South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. said Wednesday it has invested in Metawave, a U.S. startup that specializes in radars for autonomous vehicles.
Hyundai Motor did not disclose the amount of the investment. But it is one of the five backers, including Toyota AI Ventures, a venture capital subsidiary of the Toyota Research Institute, and Japanese auto parts maker Denso, to participate in the $10 million funding. This is Metawave’s second round of fund-raising after its $7 million initial seed funding in 2017.
Metawave is a Silicon Valley startup founded in 2017 that manufactures radar systems and artificial intelligence solutions for self-driving cars.
Radar is one of the core technologies that make up the “digital eye” of autonomous vehicles. It uses radio waves to detect and determine the range, angle and velocity of objects and needs to deal with the challenges of operating properly at night and in adverse weather conditions.
Unlike most other radars that use multiple antennas, Metawave’s Warlord radar is composed of a single antenna that is able to send beams in multiple directions, delivering a more accurate 3-D vision of road objects in any weather conditions and cluttered environments.
Hyundai Motor plans to bring its subsidiaries Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Autron in the joint development of the smart radar as part of efforts to bolster the group’s capacity in future mobility. “Our early partnership with Metawave would give us a leg up in the race for autonomous vehicles,” said Hyundai Motor.
According to market research firm Yole Développement, the global market for automotive sensors is projected to grow an annual 13.7 percent, from $11 billion in 2016 to $23 billion in 2022.
By Kim Jung-hwan and Kim Hyo-jin
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