SynSense raises new funding for 3D edge vision chips, expects to reach $29M in B round
Neuromorphic chip maker SynSense is expecting to raise more than 200 million RMB ($29 million) in its B round funding, the company told Biometric Update.
In March, the Zürich-based firm closed a $10 million Pre-B+ round with funding led by Ausvic Capital followed by a funding round of an unspecified amount reaching “tens of millions of RMB” led by Chinese multimodal biometrics firm Maxvision and venture capital firm RunWoo.
SynSense is a commercial supplier of ultra-low-power sensory processing hardware and application solutions for neuromorphic or brain-like computing.
The Ausvic Capital investment are set to accelerate mass production of its Speck chip, an event-driven, ultra-low-power smart vision processing System-on-Chip (SoC) while the Maxvision and RunWoo funds will be used to develop SynSense’s 3D neuromorphic processor DYNAP-CNN2, the company said in the statement.
The DYNAP-CNN2 processor is aimed at expanding SynSense’s high-speed vision solutions into autonomous systems, such as drones, robots, and self-driving vehicles. It includes depth estimation, corner detection, optical flow and ego-motion computing modules, based on dynamic vision processing, the company said in a statement.
Maxvision and Runwoo are both based in Shenzhen, China. Maxvision creates hardware and software including terminals for biometric verification, computer vision, robotics and Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and supplies smart borders, customs, airports and ports.
“SynSense’s neuromorphic technology is highly valuable in edge computing scenarios because of its ultra-low power consumption and ultra-low latency characteristics,” says Lei Qu, chairman of Maxvision. “By combining SynSense’s technology with our overall solutions design, we aim to deliver industry-leading solutions for various intelligent scenarios.”
RunWoo invests in AI, 5G, semiconductors and cloud computing and has previously backed Chinese computer vision company Extreme Vision.
Lu Pengyu, the founding partner of RunWoo, said in a statement that they believe SynSense would become a major player in the edge intelligence sector.
“Low-power sensors and processors are the key to the popularization of AIoT.” says Lu. “Spiking neural networks and asynchronous circuits are natural ultra-low power architectures. SynSense has demonstrated global technology leadership and talent reserves in this field, successfully bringing their neuromorphic chips to mass production.”
SynSense (formerly aiCTX) was founded in 2017 in Zürich Switzerland by Ning Qiao who received his Ph.D. degree in microelectronics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and spent 10 years at the Institute of Neuroinformatics, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.
SynSense’s Chinese headquarters are in Chengdu. The company has partnerships with companies such as BMW and CETHIK, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group.
This month, it joined hands with smart toy maker QunYu to unveil what it says to be the world’s first neuromorphic programmable robot. The robot, featuring SynSense’s Speck chip, is capable of human body recognition, visual perception, and mimicry, according to the firm.