The European Investment Bank (EIB) is now financing Blickfeld at a level of €15m. The funding is provided under the EIB’s venture debt program, tailored to the specific financing needs of high-growth innovative companies. This funding is guaranteed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), also known as the Juncker Plan.
Blickfeld’s lidar sensors use ToF measurements of laser pulses transmitted via MEMs on a 70°H × 30°V field of view, to generate precise three-dimensional information about the shape and surface properties of surrounding objects. Blickfeld intend to deploy this technology for automotive ADAS and L3 autonomous driving, as well as other application areas. The technology is already used in data protection-compliant collection of vehicle and people flow in the retail space and public places:
It is also used to sense traffic flows for urban traffic management context in smart cities, and to reduce false alarms in building security systems. Its detailed three-dimensional capture of the environment can also help to measure materials quantities in docks, such as fertilisers or recycled materials that are known to be difficult and expensive to quantify.
Blickfeld will use the additional capital to accelerate the development of their lidar solutions for autonomous driving and a variety of industrial applications. Another field for expansion is the position of the company in key international markets. In line with this strategy, Blickfeld are opening regional offices in the US and in China. Blickfeld CEO Mathias Müller says “The EIB’s support is testimony to Blickfeld’s maturity as a company and the confidence that those responsible have in the potential of our lidar technology. The capital provided by the EIB is the ideal financial instrument for us to expand even faster. We are convinced that our lidar solutions will make a real difference for many industries, and we are very pleased that the EIB has recognised an important innovative technology that will strengthen Europe’s position as a key centre of industry and business”.
Blickfeld’s approach is to address four different sectors of the industry: automotive; security; smart cities, and industrial & farming. Their Vision Mini and Vision Plus lidars, dedicated respectively to short/medium- and to long-range AD and ADAS applications, have been designed to conform to automotive requirements. Additional EIB funding will help Blickfeld adapt their sensors to the exigencies of their chosen market sectors and thereby expand their reach. One risk of this approach for a relatively small company, of course, is the splitting of resources which, if not carefully managed, can lead to losing focus and dedication.