San Francisco-based Ouster, a maker of digital lidar sensors, has announced that it secured $42 million in a Series B funding round that will go toward product development and the acceleration of worldwide sales.
The funding — which brings Ouster’s total thus far to $140 million — comes during what has been a positive year for the company. Following the launch of its second generation sensors in January of this year, Ouster reported that its 12-month revenue has grown by 62 percent, with third quarter bookings haven risen by an impressive 209 percent year over year.
Lidar — which standings for Light Detection and Ranging — sensors use pulsed laser light to measure relative distance ranges, allowing them to map surfaces and 3-dimensional spaces both quickly and with a high degree of accuracy. They have become more common in the self-driving car industry in recent years, as they are used to help the vehicles ‘see’ and detect objects around them.
More recently, lidar sensors have found their way into consumer devices, most notably in this year’s iPad Pro release by Apple. Though lidar is used in some facial recognition systems, Apple’s press release described lidar as a feature “that delivers cutting-edge depth-sensing capabilities, opening up more pro workflows and supporting pro photo and video app”, making no mention of its potential use to enhance Apple’s FaceID system.
Ouster manufactures digital lidar (as opposed to the more common analog lidar), built around a simplified semiconductor-based architecture which the company says allows it to “decouple price from performance and accelerate product development, manufacturing, and customer adoption.”
“Ouster’s digital lidar architecture gives us fundamental advantages that are winning over customers in every market we serve,” said Angus Pacala, CEO of Ouster. “Digital CMOS technology is the future of lidar and Ouster was the first to invent, build, patent, and commercialize digital lidar.”
With more than 800 customers spread over 15 markets, Ouster’s clients include Postmate, Ike, Kodiak the U.S. Army, Nasa, and MIT.