Sep 27, 2018 | By Thomas

Lunewave, a startup with a presence in Boston that is building new sensors to power autonomous vehicles and 5G wireless networks, has raised $5 million in seed funding to develop radar and antenna technologies for self-driving cars.

Fraser McCombs Capital, a venture and growth equity investment firm focused on automotive technology, led the round of financing, which also include strategic investments from BMW i Ventures, Baidu Ventures, an independent venture fund established in 2017 with a special focus on artificial intelligence technology, and others.

Founded in 2017 by John Xin, Hao Xin, Sherry Byon and Min Liang, Lunewave manufactures 3D printed Lüneburg lenses that could be used in radar systems for the automotive industry.

Hao Xin, a professor in the UA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with 10 years of 3D printing experience, developed two technologies that could improve car radar systems: a 3D printed Lüneburg lenses — named after mathematics professor Rudolf Lüneburg, coupled with embedded electronics and/or metalized film dielectrics that improve the sight of the lens.

The innovative, spherical sensors have a 360-degree field of view and can detect objects surrounding a car with high resolution, even at long range and in poor weather, capabilities that are normally only achievable with the use of multiple sensors.

"These technologies have applications in sensing and detection, autonomous cars and drones, pollution, water vapor detection, as well as wireless communication," Xin said. "We see huge opportunity.”

Hao Xin’s technologies are different from existing ones. While many drivers assistance systems, Tesla’s included, use expensive sensors, ultrasonic, and optics, Xin’s technologies are inexpensive, convenient, and may even have wider ranges and greater resistance to adverse weather conditions. This means futuristic autonomous cars could soon become the norm rather than a luxury product.

"Together, these two technologies may prove to be the key to allow traditionally expensive luxury car automotive safety systems to be included on much more popular and less expensive cars," commented Bob Sleeper, licensing manager at Tech Launch Arizona (TLA), who helped the Arizona researchers protect the intellectual property of their creations for commercialization.

“We are very grateful for the immense support from top tier investors and high-profile strategic partners,” said John Xin, co-founder and CEO of Lunewave. “FMC and others bring deep experience across the global automotive and technology industry and we are looking forward to hiring top talent and accelerating development to meet demand from customers.”

Mark Norman, Managing Partner at FMC, will join Lunewave’s board of directors.

“We’re excited to support the Lunewave team in their mission to revolutionize sensing,” said Norman, “We believe Lunewave is building a game-changing radar to transform automotive sensing for ADAS and autonomous applications in all weather conditions.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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