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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Volvo invests $ 2 million in optics and imaging Spectralics

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The risk arm of Volvo Cars, a longtime automaker synonymous with safety, has invested in an optics and imaging technology startup that can be integrated into a car’s windshield or windows to deliver images to drivers and passengers.

Volvo Cars Tech Fund invested $ 2 million in oimage and ptics developer Spectral, funds that it will use to accelerate development of its optical film, which the company says could make cars safer and provide a better user experience. While the investment may not seem significant, the relationship with Volvo could prove fruitful, especially if its technology ends up in production vehicles.

Spectralics is developing a transparent optical overlay, also known as a “multi-layer fine combiner,” that can be integrated into a car’s windshield or windows. Spectralics says this creates a wider field of view and, more importantly, a sense of distance, both necessary for a safe augmented reality overlay.

Outside of the vehicle, the technology could also be used for smart glasses, optical systems, and other front-view displays. It is the latest sign that virtual and augmented reality is moving beyond games and consumer goods to the vehicle. It’s arguably part of a broader shift from car original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) distinguishing themselves New cars not by horsepower, but by user experiences and technology offerings.

While the adoption of AR / VR in cars has faced a number of bottlenecks, automakers are leading the pack in investing in companies developing this technology for cabin applications. What Notes from Abigail Basset for TechCrunch +.

If Volvo’s investment in Spectralics was not a sufficient sign, a spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that the Swedish car giant is looking to adopt this technology in its cars. “Spectralics is a good portfolio that fits us and we believe that their technology has the potential to set a standard for the next generation of displays and cameras,” said Lee Ma, director of Volvo Cars Tech Fund, in a statement.

Spectralics is an alumnus of MobilityXlab, an accelerator in Götenborg, Sweden, and is also part of Drive-TLV, a mobility hub in Tel Aviv that connects startups with investors from the automotive industry. Volvo’s investment arm has been a part of both initiatives since 2017 and has recently invested in a handful of other Israeli startups, including MDGo, which develops crash detection sensors, and vehicle inspection technology developer UVEye.

The new funding now brings the Israel-based startup’s total raised to $ 5 million.

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