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AI Automotive Software Firm Black Sesame Raises $100M

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry.


Black Sesame Technologies, an artificial intelligence company focused on digital imaging that can make cars safer and more, completed a $100 million Series B financing round on April 12. According to Lei Feng Network and other news outlets.


Eight investors participated in the funding round: Legend Capital Management, Junhai Capital, SAIC Motor, SK Property Group, China Merchants Venture, Delta Capital, FengHe Group, and Northern Light Venture Capital. In January 2018, Black Sesame raised a $15 million Series A round led by NIO Capital. Northern Light Venture Capital and Red Star Macalline also participated in the Series A round.


Black Sesame Technologies, which has offices in China, Singapore and Santa Clara, Calif., provides integrated hardware and software for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. The three-year-old company’s machine vision and image processing software systems, which use the company’s own semiconductor chips, improves navigation and safety.


Company Black Sesame’s founder, Johnson Shan, indicated recently that the new funding will help Black Sesame companybe used to increase production capacity, pursue vehicle integration, and develop autopilot controllers.


The company’s new funds will additionally also look to build relationships be used to grow cooperation with other companies from the automotive sector equipment manufacturers. Black Sesame currently has partnerships with four Chinese auto manufacturers: SAIC Motor (also an investor in Black Sesame’s Series B funding round), Weilai, BYD, and FAW Group. These companies will create L3 and L4 autonomous vehicles using Black Sesame’s AI vehicle platform, HS-1000. It also has a partnership with Didi, a conglomerate with interests in transportation networks, AI and autonomous technology.


Furthermore, a partnership with Black Sesame’s other partners, which include electronics giant Bosch has and Chinese Didi, have signaled that the company’s ambitions extend beyond the automotive industry. software.


Black Sesame semiconductor chips integrate this machine vision software into advanced driver assist systems, which can alert drivers to pedestrian movement and obstacles. The software also allows for refined light control systems that boost a vehicle’s ability to pick up images.


In addition, an in-vehicle, driver monitoring system (DMS) also assesses driver fatigue and behavior. These capabilities are increasingly integrated into new cars globally.


Black Sesame will face stiff competition from other technology firms targeting the autonomous driving market. It will compete against established firms, including Intel, whose Mobileye EyeQ4 chips have already been integrated into several million vehicles. The planned EyeQ5 chips, designed for fully autonomous vehicles, will pose further challenges.

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