Chronocam, a maker of advanced vision sensors, announced today it has raised $15 million in venture capital in a round led by Intel Capital.
The announcement came as part of the Intel Capital Global Summit in San Diego. Intel said it had invested $38 million in 12 technology startups in markets such as virtual and augement reality (VR/AR) and Internet of Things (IoT).
Based in Paris, Chronocam makes visual sensors that operate in a manner similar to the human eye. The company believes a more effective visual processing system that uses less power will be attractive for partners developing self-driving vehicles and have applications for a wide range of Internet of Things devices, as well as drones and robots.
The technology is the result of years of vision research conducted at French universities and has led to breakthroughs in computer vision technologies.
“We decided [the technology] was reaching a level of maturity that it should be taken to market,” said Luca Verre, cofounder and CEO of Chronocam.
In essence, the technology works by trying to limit the data gathered. The system seeks to know when images should and should not be captured so that the data that is transmitted can be analyzed more rapidly. That dynamic also requires less power for embedded systems, Verre explained.
“We want to send to the brain only what is relevant, only what is changing,” he said. “This makes the visual system very efficient.”
The company currently has 20 employees, split between chip design and the computer vision system. Verre said the latest round, which follows a previous investment of $2.8 million, will help the company hire into both development teams.
In addition to Intel, the round for Chronocam includes iBionext, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, GmbH, 360 Capital, CEAi, and Renault Group. The company will use the money to continue developing its technology, while also looking for partners to integrate it into their products.
“The world is becoming increasingly connected and intelligent, and computer vision is a key enabler of this trend — particularly for the automotive industry and Internet of Things,” Wendell Brooks, senior vice president at Intel and president of Intel Capital, said in a statement. “Connected machines that can quickly and accurately visualize their environment and act on that data in real time have the potential to help make the roads safer and save lives. And Chronocam’s vision solution — inspired by the human eye — is an exciting development. We look forward to helping the company bring the next generation of smartmachine vision systems to market.”