SiLC Technologies Inc, a developer of integrated single-chip frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) LiDAR solutions, has announced it has raised $12 million in seed funding led by Dell Technologies Capital.
The money is expected to be used by SiLC to fund its research and development (R&D) department to help with the production of its FMCW silicon photonic 4D+ Vision Chips platform.
“Integrating all essential functions necessary to build an FMCW chip on a cost-effective silicon platform represents the holy grail of LiDAR,” said Daniel Docter, Managing Director, Dell Technologies Capital. “SiLC’s team has over twenty years of experience and a proven track record commercializing silicon photonics solutions,” he added.
This announcement comes following SiLC’s demonstration of the industry’s first fully-integrated FMCW chip and its long-range LiDAR solution at CES 2020 in January.
LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is the process of using pulsed laser light to measure relative ranges. The technology is becoming increasingly common in the automotive industry with the growth of autonomous vehicles, and is also used in facial recognition systems.
During that demonstration, SiLC was able to use its 4D+ Vision Chip and LiDAR to detect objects smaller than one-and-a-half inches at a range of 200 meters. The practical applications of this could mean an autonomous vehicle can travel at highway speeds while maintaining the ability to stop or avoid the smallest of objects 200 meters away.
Founded in 2018 by silicon industry veteran Mehdi Asghari, SiLC has developed a body of intellectual property and its own proprietary process for the manufacturing of high-performance optical components on a large scale.
“This is my third startup and by far the most exciting, both at a technology level and the size of the markets it addresses,” said Mehdi Asghari, founder and CEO, SiLC. “Our 4D+ Vision Chip technology will not only make LiDAR a commercial reality but will also enable applications ranging from robotics to AR/VR to biometric scanning,” he added.