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Autonomous vehicles and robots need accurate perception to perceive the world and interact with objects. Perception data processing provider CronAI yesterday announced that it has partnered with lidar supplier Ouster Inc. The companies said they will combine CronAI’s senseEDGE platform with Ouster’s lidar sensors to enable developers to create intelligent systems with 3D perception.
San Francisco-based Ouster was founded in 2015 and said its digital lidar architecture makes its sensors reliable, compact, and affordable while delivering camera-like image quality. The company has more than 800 customers in the robotics, transportation, and smart infrastructure industries, and it has secured $140 million in total funding.
Struck by the absence of intelligent, scalable, purpose-built “whole solutions” for 3D sensor data perception processing while developing applications for the defense industry, Tushar Chhabra and Saurav Argawala set out to bridge these critical gaps and break down performance bottlenecks when they founded CronAI in 2015. The New Delhi, India-based company is developing a 3D sensor data edge-processing platform for applications across mobility, transport infrastructure, smart spaces, automation, and security.
CronAI senseEDGE built from the ground up
CronAI said its senseEDGE platform is designed to address the acceleration requirements of 3D perception processing at the edge. The company described it as “a ground-breaking, artificially evolving, self-optimizing heterogeneous FPGA-based [field-programmable gate array] edge platform.”
SenseEDGE is intended to bridges the gap between complex 3D sensing dynamics and real-world applications, according to CronAI. It includes accelerated algorithms for 3D sensing, scalability to support next-generations algorithms and 3D sensing modalities, and user-optimized throughput and latency. SenseEDGE also has continuous real-time self-adaptation capabilities, said the company.
Ouster partners to get early access
The companies said they are providing Ouster’s partner and customer communities with early access to CronAI’s perception platform.
“This partnership is significant, representing collaboration between a leader in lidar sensor technologies and an AI software and hardware platform for 3D perception,” stated Tushar Chhabra, co-founder and CEO of CronAI. “Our heterogeneous software platform is specifically designed for processing 3D sensor data and for computer vision, and through our work together, Ouster can focus on building quality sensor technologies, while their customers can significantly mitigate their investment risks.”
“We’ve architected our platform to leverage the features of FPGAs supporting sequential, parallel and mixed workloads at lower precisions,” he said. “That all adds up to improvement in throughput, lower latency, and reduced power consumption. Now innovators can develop solutions using 3D sensors without the performance bottlenecks of traditional GPU compute hardware.”
Ouster said the acceleration of 3D sensor data perception on an edge-inference platform will enhance the value of its lidar technology by reducing customers’ research and development spending, reducing time to market, and increasing the efficiency of deployments.
“We’re proud to add CronAI to our partner ecosystem,” said Clement Kong, general manager of Asia-Pacific at Ouster. “A 3D perception platform with edge processing will help customers accelerate their projects and unlock the perception capabilities of high-resolution digital lidar. CronAI’s platform can help us reshape the autonomous world — unlocking the potential of smart spaces, transforming the way we secure critical infrastructure, and enabling new levels of industrial automation.”
By accelerating algorithms and neural networks on the product edge, Ouster said its customers can rapidly innovate and achieve higher performance per watt, performance per dollar, and throughput per TOP. The partnership with CronAI aims to overcome the traditional software and processing bottlenecks that customers have faced when building applications and solutions with 3D sensors.
CronAI recently opened its early access program to partners and began porting of customer or third-party perception software. It is now accepting pre-orders for development kits to ship in early 2021.