PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Metawave Corporation, a leading start-up revolutionizing the future of radar sensing for highly automated driving and wireless solutions for 5G deployments, closed its initial Series A funding. DENSO, the world's second largest mobility supplier, led the round. Other investors include BOLD Capital, Mirae Asset Capital, and NTT DOCOMO Ventures.
Metawave SPEKTRA Automotive Radar and Metawave TURBO and ECHO 5G Platforms
Metawave's Series A round is augmented by NTT DOCOMO Venture's inclusion, a global leader in 5G, an important addition given Metawave's 5G technology innovation – Metawave ECHO and TURBO to bend and boost mm-wave signals for a more efficient and convenient way to increase 5G coverage. Metawave's initial seed round of $17 million included financial support from giants in the automotive market, including DENSO, Toyota, Hyundai, Infineon, and others.
"To be able to work on innovative hardware, system, software, and AI platforms in such high-growth markets is exciting and challenging," said Maha Achour, founder and CEO of Metawave. "When I see our automotive partners excited about our radar capabilities and telecom customers demonstrating impressive results using our 5G solutions, I'm inspired and proud to lead a fearless team who has been delivering incredible results in less than 18 months from opening our development center in Carlsbad. Consumer expectations and business demands are increasing with the advent of new technologies, especially in mobility and connectivity, and being able to work closely with 5G and automotive leaders helps us visualize the future and continuously adapt as roads become safer and people strive to be more productive."
Safety requirements, as well as expectations for a smooth riding experience facing the auto industry cannot be met using only today's sensors, even including top digital beamforming (DBF) or MIMO radars. Leading automakers are looking for innovative radar that provides longer range, higher resolution, and with greater angular accuracy and intelligent object classification. State-of-the-art analog radar delivers these critical features, giving automakers the ability to provide next-generation adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and automated emergency braking. Clearing these hurdles is critical to ensuring the highest levels of repeatable and dependable safety adherence while gaining long-term community acceptance. The automotive radar market is expected to reach $10.5B by 2026, growing at a significant rate of 20.4% during the forecasted period 2019 to 2026.
"We've been working with Metawave since its founding and are continually impressed with the innovation the team can deliver," said Tony Cannestra, director of Corporate Ventures at DENSO, and Metawave board member. "Electronically beamsteering radar will fundamentally change the way automakers think about sensors and their ADAS fusion, and Metawave has a head start in solving this complicated problem with a robust and modular technology platform. DENSO is very excited to continue to support Metawave's impressive technology development as we continuously seek new ways to create value in mobility."
At the same time, the growth in 5G is expected to be significant in the near term. 5G provides 100 times faster data speeds than 4G, while supporting low-latency applications such as autonomous driving, making it possible for multiple devices to be responsive in real time. 5G allows networks to transmit 10,000 times the traffic with less than 1 millisecond latency. And, it's more reliable than prior cellular networks opening the doors to applications that support smart cities and autonomous driving.
"Tackling complex advancements in one industry is difficult enough, but to apply that same technology to two giant industries is incredible," commented Metawave Board Member Karen C. Francis. "The goto-market approach Metawave is taking is smart –focused on working with global leaders in each industry. They're already seeing much interest of both the radar and 5G platforms. I look forward to working with Maha and her team as they grow and deliver over the coming months and years."
Metawave SPEKTRA Automotive Radar with AWARE AI
Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence for analog radars, Metawave is building SPEKTRA - - the first beamsteering radar system capable of distinguishing between objects in difficult driving scenarios and in all-weather conditions -- making cars safer and smarter. The company has been delivering its Proof of Concept (POC) to leading automakers and Tier 1 transportation providers since early 2019, demonstrating its capabilities in today's difficult driving scenarios, including enhancing automated features like cut in/cut out, automated braking, lane assist and adaptive cruise control. Using the latest advances in deep learning to extract meaningful information, Metawave's proprietary AI platform, called AWARE, is integrated with its radar platform to solve the 'lack-of-precision' issue.
Metawave 5G Platforms ECHO and TURBO with AWARE AI
To support the development of 5G, Metawave is developing its state-of-the-art TURBO active repeaters and ECHO passive reflectors to enable faster, more efficient 5G and fixed wireless deployments to bring high-speed connectivity to billions of users as they connect in bustling cities, busy office buildings, crowded concerts and sporting events, and under-serviced pockets all around the world. The company demonstrated results with DOCOMO in late 2018, showing how the ECHO platform boosts signals for better communication speed and coverage using 5G. Metawave is working with leading telecoms to demonstrate both ECHO and TURBO, giving 5G users faster, economical, and reliable connectivity. Metawave's network planning AWARE AI utilizes a combination of deep learning and traditional electromagnetic simulations. It enables users to scan their application area – in office buildings, cities, stadiums, and more – and makes precise suggestions for optimal locations and arrangements of ECHO and TURBO platforms.
Metawave Innovation Delivery Timeline
- August 2017: Officially launches, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA
- September 2017: Closes initial Seed round of $7M
- January 2018: First public debut of Metawave radar at CES 2018
- May 2018: Closes Seed Plus round of $10M
- June 2018: Opens state-of-the-art lab in Carlsbad CA
- December 2018: Demonstrates 5G ECHO Relay with DOCOMO in Tokyo
- January 2019: Demonstrates long range radar at CES 2019
- April 2019: Demonstrates Phase Controller for beamsteering radar
- July 2019: Demonstrates radar antenna calibration o August 2019: Reached more than 100 pending patent applications
- October 2019: First patent issued
- October 2019: Metawave closes Series A Funding