Hyundai announced that it would invest in Autotalks, a startup whose chips enable cars to broadcast their location and speed so that other cars can automatically avoid crashing into them at night and in inclement weather, react to them speeding around blind corners, and contribute to local traffic reports. The total investment was not disclosed.
Autotalks is trying to establish itself in the growing market for vehicle-to-everything – more commonly known as V2X – communications. Before the funding from Hyundai, the company raised more than $80 million in four financing rounds and agreed to supply Japan’s Denso with chips that support dedicated short range communications, or D.S.R.C. The company, which was founded in 2008, is in talks with a number of other automotive suppliers.
The company’s chips can be built into roadside units – so that cars can leave alerts about slick road conditions for other vehicles out of their 1,000-foot range – as well as motorcycles and bicycles. The chips could also be installed in smartphones, allowing cars to view local maps of pedestrians. The technology could supplement other sensors used in driverless cars such as radar and cameras that can only monitor what is directly in front of them.
“Having a top global car manufacturer such as Hyundai invest directly in Autotalks is not only a vote of confidence in the company, but a testament to the growing V2X market,” said Autotalks chief executive officer Hagai Zyss. “The funding from Hyundai will fuel Autotalks’ technology roadmap as well as support our customers and partners all over the globe.”