Is Spatial Computing the Future of Automotive Safety?

Basemark secures roughly €22 million to scale its flagship in-car AR SDK

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Is Spatial Computing the Future of Automotive Safety?
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Published: April 10, 2024

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Rory Greener

This week, a provider of in-car AR software solutions, Basemark, announced the successful acquisition of roughly €22 to boost the firm’s service, enabling original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to create custom automotive XR applications.

Tero Sarkkinen, the Founder and CEO of Basemark, noted:

We are pleased to welcome new investors Tesi and Constructor Capital onboard, as well as thank our existing investor ETF for their continued support. Constructor Capital’s Founder, Serg Bell, is an exceptional entrepreneur and has founded many companies that offer synergies to Basemark. We’re excited to work together to make driving more safe and enjoyable.

Specifically, Basemark aims to improve driver and vehicle operator safety with innovative AR heads up displays (HUDs), which the firm claims can increase driver awareness and safety.

The series B funding round allows Basemark to scale its services via capital from investors such as ETF Partners, with funding also coming from Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi), Constructor Capital, Business Finland, and the European Innovation Council.

Serg Bell, the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Constructor Group, also added:

Finland has produced many category-leading software companies in the world and I see Basemark having an opportunity to become one in the professional augmented reality field. Developer tools are close to my heart and I am very happy to support Basemark in its growth phase and beyond.

With the funding, Basemark states it plans to drive scalability in regions such as Europe and the United States by deepening partnerships with OEMs. Based on its Western success, it expanded to new customers in Japan, China, and South Korea.

Moreover, the most recent funding means that Basemark has raised roughly €34 million in total capital based on its current performance with international clients in Helsinki, Munich, Detroit and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The firm is at the forefront of the automotive industry, working with players like BMW to combine computer vision and vehicle sensor data, creating a solution providing AR-based information overlays on the navigation screens of the vehicle’s Central Information Display (CIP), which alerts people on their physical surroundings while driving. Split screen visuals are displayed on the CIP, allowing drivers to see real-time camera footage along with SatNav overlays in urban driving and motorway settings.

Rocksolid AR SDK

Basemark is enhancing its Rocksolid AR software development tools that enable clients to design custom in-car AR service to ensure its software can match the demand of a growing partner ecosystems.

Basemark notes that Rocksolid AR SDK provides a simple and streamlined way to create AR services for improved driver safety, such as real-time contextual guidance and alerts.

“OEMs want to become software developers themselves because of the software-defined car megatrend,” Sarkkinen noted. However, the CEO and Founder note that AR application development is prolonged, expensive, and tedious to learn while also requiring “expertise in AI, computer vision, graphics, and embedded systems.”

Sarkkinen also added:

Traditional HMI development tools do not have computer vision capabilities, so there was a growing need for an AR development tool in the automotive industry. That’s why we developed Rocksolid AR, the world’s first series production-grade automotive AR development tool set capable of addressing the unique challenges of AR in the automotive industry.

Basemark notes how spatially anchored RT3D objects enable a common hurdle in creating in-car visuals. To fit this issue, the Rocksolid AR SDK includes advanced localization and motion tracking considerations to ensure that AR objects and HUB assets appear from a driver’s point of view without visual inconsistencies related to motion, vibration, and motion sickness.

Sarkkinen also noted that displaying consistent and accurate AR information is essential. At the same time, a car is in motion “is the most difficult part of developing immersive automotive AR experiences” However, the CEO noted how the Rocksolid AR SDK does “all the AI heavy lifting for positioning content in the most immersive way, enabling OEMs to focus on brand differentiation.”

Remy de Tonnac, a Senior Partner at ETF Partners, explained the importance of supporting and scaling AR solutions like those enabled by Basemark.

Tonnac stated:

In the future, as autonomous cars become the norm, we expect a significant decrease in the total number of vehicles on the road, with the majority being electric. This shift will result in a substantial reduction of emissions. Augmented reality is key to this transformation, serving as an integral component of the Software Defined Vehicle megatrend that is guiding the automotive industry toward full autonomy. Basemark is at the forefront of the AR/VR HUD technology revolution and they are perfectly positioned to help OEMs craft safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable driving experiences for all.

According to data provided by the firm, the automotive heads-up display is worth roughly USD 1.43 billion, with projections to hit USD 17.43 billion by 2032.

Spatial data is set to skyrocket for worldwide industries. A significant player is self-driving, where spatial data helps with various aspects to ensure values. With major automotive firms aiming to reach automated ubiquity in new cars, automotive AR in multiple forms may grow alongside it.

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