Advanced Navigation today said it has raised $13 million in a Series A round to fund a “significant” global expansion for its business and accelerate research and development programs for “transformative” robotics, navigation, and sensor technologies.
Engineers Xavier Orr and Chris Shaw founded Advanced Navigation in 2012 to commercialize their thesis research into inertial navigation based on neural networks. Their first product met the market with great success, according to the company. Advanced Navigation expanded rapidly, adding a portfolio of artificial intelligence-based navigation offerings.
The company has moved into a diverse range of deep-tech fields such as underwater acoustics, GPS, radio frequency systems, sensors, and robotics. It is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and has a large research facility in Perth, Australia. Advanced Navigation said it exports globally while maintaining carbon-neutral operations.
Advanced Navigation is now a supplier to four of the top five car manufacturers; nine of the 10 largest defense companies; as well as multinational organizations including Airbus, Apple, Boeing, Google, NASA, and Tesla. Its users also include world-class racing yachts such as Wild Oats XI and Oracle Team USA.
Advanced Navigation uses AI to shrink navigation
Advanced Navigation said its systems are based on a revolutionary AI algorithm that allows them to be much smaller, more accurate, more reliable, and significantly cheaper than incumbent products. This is intended to make it easier to build self-driving cars, robotics, autonomous drones, and submersibles, as well as new capabilities in aerospace, automotive, defense, marine, and subsea applications.
“Incumbents in the navigation technology industry are still developing equipment based on an algorithm developed in 1967 — we’re bringing an age-old industry into the 21st century,” stated Orr, co-CEO of Advanced Navigation. “We founded Advanced Navigation out of that necessity to change an industry stuck in the past.”
“What we’ve developed allows businesses to do incredible new things that weren’t previously possible, powering next-generation applications across land, sea, and air,” he said.
Investor, partner benefits
Main Sequence Ventures’ CSIRO Innovation Fund led the AU $20 million round and was joined by U.S. venture-capital firms Brick & Mortar Ventures and In-Q-Tel Inc.
“There are tremendous benefits for partnering with each of our investors,” said Shaw, co-CEO of Advanced Navigation. “Main Sequence Ventures are deep-tech specialists [sic] and will give us a huge opportunity to work with governments and tap into universities working on revolutionary technologies.”
“The U.S. is a key growth market for us, and working with Brick & Mortar helps us capitalize on that,” he said. “These guys are the domain experts in the construction industry and will open doors for us. The additional funds will allow us to continue investing in best-in-class research and development in this area, for defense and commercial applications globally, and [to] double down on our growth in the U.S. and other global markets.”
Martin Duursma, partner at Main Sequence Ventures, and Curtis Rodgers, principal at Brick & Mortar Ventures, will join Advanced Navigation’s board.
“Advanced Navigation is an incredible and untold Australian success, already powering many autonomous and robotics capabilities we will see over the decades to come,” said Duursma. “We really like the way that the company collaborates with Australian universities to develop new and groundbreaking product capabilities. There’s no one quite doing what the company is doing today, and we’re thrilled to have Advanced Navigation join the Main Sequence portfolio and help them expand even faster across the world.”
“The ultra-precise navigation and positioning capabilities of Advanced Navigation’s technologies have a number of potential applications in construction and adjacent industries,” said Rogers. “We’re excited to work with Xavier, Chris, and the team to bring these possibilities to life on the global stage.”