Toyota, BMW invest in Israeli startup Cartica AI

Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Odinaev

The Tel Aviv-based company, a spinoff from Cortica, is developing an AI platform to increase car safety and reduce accidents.

Israeli autonomous AI startup Cartica AI today announced the completion of its Series B investment round. Among investors are Continental, Toyota AI Ventures, BMW i Ventures, and Israeli venture capital fund OurCrowd. No financial details about the financing round were disclosed.

Tel Aviv-based Cartica AI is a spinoff from Cortica, which was founded in 2007, and has so far raised $70 million. Cortica is developing unsupervised machine learning systems that can understand a vehicle's environment and identify objects while the vehicle is travelling. The funds raised by Cartica AI will be used to launch its autonomous AI platform, which will increase car safety and reduce accidents. .

Cartica AI cofounder and CEO Igal Raichelgauz said, “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. Our strategy is to build strong partnerships with leading automotive players in order to bring our solution to the high-volume automotive marketplace by the end of next year. Joining forces with these leading players is another substantial validation of our unique technology and business strategy.”

Raichelgauz also founded Cortica together with Karina Odinaev and Josh Zeevi.  

Cartica AI introduces a unique AI approach of deep learning, which is not based on human-labeled data. In contrast to deep-learning, Cartica AI enables unsupervised learning from real-world data, resulting in unprecedented accuracy in edge cases and challenging scenarios. Cartica AI’s platform is protected by over 200 patents.

Cartica AI has 45 employees and will hire 100 more by the end of the year for its new Tel Aviv development center. It will also open a sales office in Munich. Meanwhile Cortica itself has 100 employees and will be hiring dozens more. 

Continental venture capital manager Nils Berkemeyer said, “Cartica pursues an entirely novel approach to autonomous perception and enables a wide range of compelling use cases that have the potential to transform mobility solutions in automotive and beyond."

BMW I Venture partner Kasper Sage said, “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. This is of immense value before a new system release. 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.”

Toyota AI Ventures founding managing director Jim Adler said, "It’s rare to see a company leverage over a decade of computer vision research and development applied to the toughest problems in autonomous driving. We've been impressed with the quality of Cartica’s team and their unsupervised learning approach to new perception solutions for the automotive market."

OurCrowd senior investment partner Eli Nir said, “Cartica AI has a unique mix of a world class technology, team, extremely strong IP portfolio, and a product that offers functional and cost benefits that are currently unheard of in the ADAS ecosystem, not to mention robust market traction that can convert into very sizeable deals."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 4, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Odinaev
Igal Raichelgauz and Karina Odinaev
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