BMW, Toyota, Osram invest in AI processor startup

August 06, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With its idea of developing a very performant yet power-efficient AI processor chip, startup company Recogni (“Realtime Object Recognition”) is inspiring above all companies from the automotive industry. Now carmakers BMW and Toyota as well as tier two supplier Osram participated in a funding round.

Recogni, founded in 2018 and based in Munich and Silicon Valley, has set itself the goal of revolutionizing the processing of sensor data for (semi)-autonomous vehicles. The company aims to solve the dilemma of ensuring the environmental perception of autonomous vehicles at high speed (real-time) on the one hand and with very low power consumption on the other. The company's founders have extensive industry experience in system design, artificial intelligence, machine vision and chip design.

Osrams' investment is made via its venture capital unit Fluxunit. In addition to Osram / Fluxunit, a number of well-known venture capitalists are also involved. These include GreatPoint Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, BMW iVentures, Faurecia and DNS Capital. The initial funding round is $25 million.

"We see the Recogni platform as a great opportunity to truly achieve the goal of full vehicle autonomy," said Ashok Krishnamurthi, Managing Partner of GreatPoint Ventures. "Our market research shows that most technologies for accelerating neural networks are trimmed for either performance or power efficiency - neither is optimized for both. We believe the Recogni platform is several orders of magnitude better than anything we've seen before."

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