General Motors’ venture capital arm has invested millions of dollars in Oculii, a US startup maker of software for radar sensors used in self-driving cars, Oculii co-founder Steven Hong told the Reuters news agency.
GM can use Oculii’s low-cost software to boost the resolution of radars and scale up its partially automated vehicles and full self-driving cars, he told the news agency in an interview.
The investment is a “fantastic signal they’re serious about the technology and bullish about radar in general,” Hong said.
He founded Oculii with his father, Lang Hong, an engineering professor at Wright State University, according to the report, and declined to disclose the financial details.
Hong told Reuters he agreed with comments by Tesla’s artificial intelligence director, Andrej Karpathy, about the shortcomings of traditional radars. Karpathy said in June that radars sometimes make “dumb” measurements of the environment, holding back its vision system.
“Traditional radar is very low resolution and very noisy,” Hong told the news agency. But high-resolution radars are a key backup to cameras and other sensors when they fail, thus providing “extra safety,” he added.
He said he expected Tesla to embrace radars as prices decline.
“It is gonna be a no brainier,” Hong told Reuters.