BMW i Ventures Announces Investment in Cartica AI

BMW i Ventures Announces Investment in Cartica AI

Author: Eric Walz   

BMW i Ventures announced today an investment in Cartica AI, a leading automotive visual intelligence platform developing next-generation AI capabilities for the automotive industry that harnesses the computational resources of an average car. 

Isreali-based Cartica AI was founded on the basis of theoretical research about the human brain at the world renowned Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. The company is introducing a fundamental shift to the conventional AI approach of supervised deep learning for autonomous vehicles, which currently relies on massive amounts of human-labeled data. 

The new funding will be used to launch Cartica's Autonomous AI platform and scale its global operations. 

Unsupervised Deep-Learning

Cartica AI's approach enables unsupervised learning from real-world data, which the company says results in unprecedented accuracy in edge cases and challenging scenarios. Cartica says its AI's platform is based on an already mature technology, following over a decade of R&D. The company's technology was awarded over 200 patents.

"Our goal is to introduce a novel, yet proven, AI approach to the automotive industry, which will pave the way for a safer and more autonomous transportation," said Igal Raichelgauz, CEO and Co-founder of Cartica AI. "Our strategy is to build strong partnerships with leading automotive players in order to bring our solution to the high volume automotive market, by the end of next year. Joining forces with these leading players is another substantial validation to our unique technology and business strategy."

Since the AI platform is capable of unsupervised learning, it does not require an human-annotated training set, which is time-consuming, expensive and unreliable process for edge-case scenarios that self-driving cars must learn to deal with. 

Cartica asserts that deep-learning is a kind of black box lacking transparency, although this transparency is essential for analyzing the reason for an accident involving an autonomous vehicle, it requires a massive amount of computing power. 

Cortica says that this approach wastes computer resources and is not efficient enough for an "environmental concept" and fusing sensors in real time. This is one of the main technological obstacles for an autonomous vehicle. 

Cartica says that its AI platform uses ten times less power than the best available solution in the market.

According to Cartica, the unsupervised AI works by autonomously identifying commonalities among raw data to cluster footage together by concept and event. The insights gathered from this process allow for full edge case coverage, as well as a complete understanding of detailed scenarios that a self-driving vehicle will encounter. 

"Cartica AI introduces a series of important technological advancements for an OEM ranging from low compute requirements and low energy consumption, to a transparent decision-making process of the computer vision-based perception stack. Updates to the system can be included within minutes without the need to re-run vast amounts of training data like neural network-based approaches," said Kasper Sage, Partner BMW i Ventures in a statement.

"We believe Cartica will thus play a key role in the development of Autonomous Driving and Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) by OEMs and Tier 1s, allowing them to design safe and predictable solutions that fulfill the strict requirements of the market."

BMW i Ventures is the BMW Group's venture capital fund that invests in innovative startups in the fields of autonomous driving, digital car and automotive cloud, e-mobility, artificial intelligence, shared and on-demand mobility and energy services. 

BMW i Ventures has already partnered with numerous companies working in the automotive space, including EV charging provider Chargepoint, Nauto, which provides AI-based road and driver monitoring to fleets, and car-sharing platform Turo.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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