Outsight seduces with its Lidars data analysis software. The French start-up announced on October 20, 2022 that it had raised 22 million euros from Energy Innovation Capital (EIC), the Defense Innovation Fund managed by Bpifrance, BNP Paribas, SPDG, Groupe ADP, Demeter, Saffron and Faurecia.
A participation of the Defense Innovation Fund which underlines the interest of the Ministry of Defense for such technology. The start-up claims to have carried out projects in partnership with, but not to be able to communicate on it.
Transform data from sensors
“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. This is where Outsight comes in. “Our role as a software publisher is to transform data from 3D sensors into information that can be used in a whole host 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 respond to specific problems. Similarly, the data made available to customers can then be processed by machine learning models.
Outsight discusses three markets for its software: infrastructure (tracking people in airports or shopping malls, smart cities for understanding traffic and interactions between users); the vehicles but not necessarily autonomous since this includes construction and handling equipment in order to reinforce safety; industry to enhance 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 its performance has increased exponentially”, says Raul 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 centralized on the autonomous vehicle which was the ultimate dream, he analyzes. But today all industries are seizing this technology.” “The industry and the customers are mature, we are more in the R&D of the autonomous car”, he adds.
A new cloud offer
“Each sensor has particularities that make it suitable for certain situations”, slips the president of Outsight. With its agnostic software, the start-up allows its customers to combine the best sensors. The 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 the necessary inclination. Outsight specifies that it is a partner of 80% of companies in the Lidar sector. “Manufacturers have understood Outsight’s role in accelerating the adoption of Lidar”emphasizes Raul Bravo.
Outsight has just over 80 employees spread between Paris, Sofia Antipolis and San Francisco. The start-up claims dozens of customers such as ADP, Stellantis, ECA Robotics and Dunakontroll. It raises these funds to continue its developments and attract a growing number of customers.
Going in this direction, it is developing a cloud offer. Two major needs are attached to Lidars: capturing information in real time and subsequent processing of large amounts of data. The information generated by the Lidar and processed by Outsight can be stored in the cloud in order to be analyzed later, put into perspective with other data, etc. For example, in an airport it is useful to have real-time information saying that the queue is currently too long. But this data can be put into perspective to anticipate in advance the days and times when there are peaks. The Lidar industry seems to have a future well beyond the autonomous vehicle.
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Outsight raises 22 million euros to multiply the uses of Lidars
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