Outsight seduces with its Lidars data analysis software. The French start-up announced on October 20, 2022 that it had raised €22 million from Energy Innovation Capital (EIC), the Defense Innovation Fund managed by Bpifrance, BNP Paribas, SPDG, Groupe ADP, Demeter, Safran and Faurecia .
A participation by the Defense Innovation Fund that reinforces the Ministry of Defense’s interest in this technology. The start-up claims to have carried out projects in partnership, but is unable to communicate about them.
Transform sensor data
“The main problem with 3D technology is that the hardware is unusable by engineers who are not 3D experts”, slides at L’Usine Digitale Raul Bravo, co-founder and president of Outsight. That’s where Vision comes in. “Our role as a software editor is to transform 3D sensor data into information that can be used in a variety of applications”he explains.
One of the strengths highlighted by the start-up founded in 2019 is that it does not use machine learning technologies. This avoids going through a long process of training the model with large amounts of data and requires much less computing power. However, it is possible to use artificial intelligence bricks if it makes sense to answer specific problems. Likewise, data made available to customers can be processed by machine learning models.
Outsight discusses three markets for its software: the infrastructure (tracking people in airports or shopping malls, smart cities to understand traffic and interactions between users); the vehicles but not necessarily autonomous, as they include construction and handling equipment to enhance safety; industry to increase the safety of people and avoid collisions or even applications in the measurement of volumes to assess the value of stocks in warehouses or mines.
How to explain this success? “The price of Lidar sensors has dropped significantly and their performance has increased exponentially”, says Raúl Bravo. Several billions have been invested in the technology in recent years and many competitors have entered. “All this money was invested because at the time the entire market was centered on the autonomous vehicle, which was the biggest dream, he analyzes. But today all industries are taking advantage of this technology.” “The industry and customers are mature, we are more into self-driving car R&D,” he adds.
A new cloud offering
“Each sensor has particularities that make it suitable for certain situations”, dismisses the president of Outsight. With its agnostic software, the start-up allows its customers to combine the best sensors. Young Shoot has developed a simulation tool to determine the best Lidar for a specific use in a given environment, but also to find the best location and slope needed. Outsight specifies that it is a partner of 80% of companies in the Lidar sector. “Manufacturers understand Outsight’s role in accelerating Lidar adoption”emphasizes Raul Bravo.
Outsight has just over 80 employees spread across Paris, Sofia Antipolis and San Francisco. The start-up claims dozens of clients such as ADP, Stellantis, ECA Robotics and Dunakontroll. It raises these funds to continue its developments and attract an increasing number of customers.
Going in that direction, it is developing a cloud offering. Two major needs are linked to Lidars: capture of information in real time and subsequent processing of large amounts of data. The information generated by Lidar and processed by Outsight can be stored in the cloud to be analyzed later, contextualized with other data, etc. For example, at an airport, it is useful to have real-time information saying that the queue is too long at the moment. But this data can be put into perspective to anticipate peak days and times. The Lidar industry appears to have a future far beyond the autonomous vehicle.
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