UK AI chip startup Opteran has raised $12 million in funding to further develop its optical flow AI technology into decision making. The round was led by Join Capital and backed by IQ Capital, Northern Gritstone, Seraphim, Episode 1 and Schauenburg Ventures.
Opteran’s technology uses a similar approach to the way insects use embodied cognition to move around in complex, dynamic and often hostile environments. Autonomous machines must be able to interact with the world in a similar way to nature. Opteran claims to provide this type of real-time situational awareness for structured and unstructured environments by mimicking the function of animal brains. According to the startup, this delivers an energy-efficient, robust and safe solution to deal with complicated visual and navigational challenges of autonomous machines.
“By mimicking nature’s genius to enable machines to move like natural creatures we are redefining the global market for machine autonomy,” said David Rajan, CEO of Opteran. “We expect Opteran Natural Intelligence to become the standard solution for autonomy anywhere on the ground or in the air, on any machine, large or ultra small, because it combines such sophisticated natural brain capabilities in a light-weight, efficient package.”
The funding will drive the company’s expansion plans. It will open offices in the U.S. to support a growing number of customer pilots, and in 2023, it will add natural brain decision-making for machines. Opteran will expand its neuromorphic optical flow technology, dubbed Opteran Natural Intelligence, from computer vision to decision making.
The company has already developed stabilised vision, collision avoidance and navigation with the ground-based system, Hopper, and its aerial reference drone.
Sebastian von Ribbentrop, founding partner of Join Capital added: “Opteran has built the AI technology required to transform autonomous machines beyond today’s limited use in restricted scenarios to enable more widespread adoption. Opteran Natural Intelligence will be the differentiator for every sector implementing autonomy in machines.”