This week saw the closure of Brodmann17, an Israeli firm that had created an innovative strategy to compete with Mobileye in the market for computer vision technologies.
Founder and CEO Adi Pinhas announced the decision in a LinkedIn post, saying that while the company would not be able to bring its products to the mass market as hoped, “we do get comfort that our innovation will hopefully influence the market thinking and others will proceed in the mission of creating safer mobility to everyone.”
Afterwards, Pinhas was interviewed and said, “There is a great feeling of regret as we proven the technology, there is outstanding demand, and we have clients in production.”
Brodmann17 was created by deep learning and computer vision expert Pinhas, together with AI researchers Amir Alush and Assaf Mushinsky, six years ago. The name was inspired by the human brain’s main visual cortex. The group of three worked on a novel technique to improve computer vision for use in high-tech driving aids.
As such, autonomous driving features rely heavily on computer vision systems. As manufacturers move their focus from fully autonomous vehicles to more immediate revenue goods like sophisticated driver aid systems, this multibillion dollar industry is only expected to grow.
According to Pinhas, Brodmann17 realised it needed to find a way to differentiate itself from Mobileye in the front-facing camera market. We decided to concentrate on the blue ocean, he said.
Creating deep learning-based computer vision technology that does not require cumbersome hardware was a promising blue ocean opportunity. This “lightweight” software-based device was built to work with the vehicle’s existing sensors, such as cameras, radar, and even lidar, and was capable of running on the vehicle’s low-end CPUs.
According to Pinhas, Brodmann17 has integrated its technology into a variety of products, including blind-spot wing cameras, surround and rear cameras, video telematics, and even two-wheelers.
He said that market demand is far more varied than was previously believed. We went in a direction that few other firms in the ecosystem have gone before. The only thing we were lacking was a little bit of extra time.
There were investors in the company when it was active. In 2019, OurCrowd led a Series A funding round of $11 million for Brodmann17. Along with Maniv Mobility and the AI Alliance, UL Ventures, Samsung NEXT, and the Sony Innovation Fund also contributed to the round.
New investments were difficult for the corporation to secure. Pinhas stated that without funding from private and corporate venture capital organisations, the team could not have continued to operate while being “extremely lean,” with less than 30 individuals. He went on to say that “everyone” is holding off on investing until next year because “something” needs to happen.
An interest in acquiring Brodmann17 was noted. He said there were other offers, but they all fell through, primarily because of time issues.
Pinhas has stated that he is eager to begin working on yet another project, despite the negative news.
He mused vaguely, “I adore deep tech and building new goods,” without providing any specifics. “Don’t take a break; life is too short.”
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