Listen to this article
SiLC Technologies Inc., a developer of silicon photonics, yesterday announced that it raised $25 million in additional funding. This brings the company’s total funding to $56 million from its seed and Series A rounds.
Monrovia, Calif.-based SiLC said it plans to use the funding to expand production “to support design wins” for its Eyeonic Vision System. The company also said it will continue developing products for markets including mobility, robotics, smart cameras, and security.
Silicon photonics industry veterans Mehdi Asgari and Jonathan Luf co-founded SiLC in 2018. The company said its ultimate goal is “to equip machines with vision that far surpasses human capabilities.”
Eyeonic Vision designed to extend robotic sight
To create the Eyeonic Vision System, SiLC said it integrated its photonics technology into a “turnkey” vision system. The company claimed that the subsystem can reduce time to market for manufacturers of machine vision applications.
SiLC recently introduced four versions of its FMCW (frequency-modulated continuous wave) lidar-based Eyeonic Vision System for detection capabilities that span from short distances to more than 0.62 mi. (1 km). The company cited AI as an enabler for machines that need to perceive and understand their surroundings in the same way as humans.
“Silicon photonics is key for the miniaturization of 3D sensors, while FMCW lidar enables the use of eye-safe wavelengths, provides instantaneous velocity, and removes the need for high-power lasers to reach long distances,” said Jose Pozo, chief technology officer of Optica, a society advancing optics and photonics worldwide, in a release.
“The combination of these two techniques, as SiLC is demonstrating, will soon enable every electronic device, including drones, robots, and wearable devices, to be aware of its surroundings,” he added.
SiLC also offers an Eyeonic Vision Sensor, which it said integrates all photonics functions needed to enable a coherent vision sensor.
New firms join SiLC investors
Hokuyo Automatic, Hankook & Co., and ROHM Semiconductor participated in the round as strategic investors. They joined SiLC’s existing investors, which included Epson, Yamato, UMC, Sony, Dell Technologies Capital, and Alter Venture Partners.
“We have significant momentum and support from our customer base, which is recognized by our world-class syndicate of investors,” said Asghari, co-founder and CEO of SiLC. “This shows that a genuinely differentiated technology that is proven to work and adds real value will get support from its investor and customer base.”
“Even in today’s economic climate, we have nearly doubled our total fund raise,” he said. “We are excited to have such notable industry leaders join us on our journey.
“SiLC’s on-chip FMCW lidar is very competitive in terms of sensor performance, chip integration and manufacturing know-how,” added Sumio Utsunomiya, COO of Epson X Investment Corp. “We expect this technology to be applied in various industries in the future, such as industrial robots, autonomous vehicles, ADAS, and AR/VR wearable consumer devices,”
Earlier this year, SiLC announced a partnership with indie Semiconductor, an Autotechs systems developer. The companies said they plan to enable coherent detection-based lidar platform for applications including robotics, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), autonomous mobility, and industrial automation.