Horizon Robotics seeks funding to back embedded AI for facial recognition, autonomous vehicles
Horizon Robotics, which provides facial recognition systems for some of Beijing’s busiest subway stations, is betting heavily on embedded AI as the future of facial recognition and autonomous vehicles, the South China Morning Post reports.
The company was founded in 2015 by former Baidu executive Dr. Kai Yu, who set up the search-engine company’s “deep learning” research institute in 2013. Horizon makes AI chips and algorithms for facial recognition that can identify up to 200 people in real-time. It counts Intel among its early investors, and hopes to power more than 100 million smart cameras by 2020. To support this goal, Horizon is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in a new round of fundraising which is about to begin, Yu told the Post.
Other firms among its existing investors include Morningside Venture Capital, Hillhouse Capital, and Sequoia Capital.
Horizon’s chips cost 10 times less than laser-based systems which are built into many autonomous vehicles, and avoid the high power consumption, bandwidth, and cloud storage requirements of cloud-based AI services, according to Yu.
“With our chips, which are already embedded with AI capacity, the devices can process what they see where they are, no need to send all the data back and wait for a result,” he said.
A pair of Chinese AI facial recognition companies, SenseTime and CloudWalk reported receiving major investments in November, as China aims both to deploy one of the world’s most expansive system of smart cameras for facial recognition, and to become a world leader in AI.