- Posted by Szerkeszto
- On July 31, 2015
- 0 Comments
- artificial intelligence, automotive, self-driving cars
by Eva Rez
We have told you, DayOne is living exciting times! Let me present our newest investment in AdasWorks GmbH founded by Laszlo Kishonti, a successful entrepreneur and an inspiring visionary. DayOne, big names from the automotive industry and leading financial investors see a great potential in what Laszlo and his team is up to!
AdasWorks’ Superman has arrived
It all started with a “comic book” (= AdasWorks’ investment deck). I remember when I first met Laszlo. He and one of his team member arrived to DayOne’s office literally with AdasWorks’ Superman. Laszlo guided us through his hero’s story. He explained to us his vision about the future of the automotive industry and what his team from Hungary has already achieved in this field. We were simply impressed…
Behind the scenes
But we are investors, so we were looking for the real thing. Investors are always sceptic at the beginning. This is their nature. Why would this project beat the technology behind Google’s self-driving car or all the other big fish? And what does this ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) software will know what its competitors might not?
This is what we learnt from Laszlo. He explained us the design challenge the car industry is facing right now with a captivating example: a current high-end car is packed with up to 150 ECUs that are each responsible for separate features including driver assistance (such as lane-keeping, park-assist and so on), whereas the auto-pilots of latest aircrafts are using significantly less but more integrated ECUs. Imagine, how many chips we will need if we cannot get enough of these fancy autonomous features, and how deep we have to reach into our pockets?! Therefore, the value proposition of AdasWorks is:
“AdasWorks is designed to revolutionize the automotive industry by providing an integrated software environment running on next-generation application processors which are able to handle all Advanced Driver Assistance Systems tasks.”
Nowadays, most premium or mid-range cars offer some advanced functions such as parking aid. But based on the rapid pace of development, most of the cars will soon be able to guide us back to the lane if we fell asleep on the highway, or stop when they identify a pedestrian in front of/behind us. To achieve this with a high confidence level, cars will need all their “sensory organs” to be in work at the same time, in an integrated manner:
“AdasWorks is a software toolkit that fuses multiple car sensors, GPS and map data with computer vision to create advanced and cost-effective driver assistance and semi-autonomous systems.”
Laszlo has not only spoken into the air. The team at AdasWorks had already transformed a consumer car into semi-autonomous using low-cost components and showcased this project at CES 2015. The control of the demo car relies only on vision-based information processed from one front-facing camera without using any pre-recorded 3D laser scan maps. This short video is speaking for itself:
We know it’s sexy!
As an early-stage investor we are looking for hot markets, which grow fast, and for solutions, which attain attention from significant market players. We believe that the automotive industry, especially the autonomous car segment is one of these. Have you ever thought that gadgets from the movie ‘Back to the future’ will become part of our life in less than two decades? Now you might be also a non-believer regarding driverless cars. Some estimations dare to claim that by 2020 self-driving vehicles will be an everyday reality, while waiting 15 more years will result in a situation where 75% of sold light-duty cars will be autonomous! Of course, we do not let ourselves be simply amazed by predictions. What we see is that regulatory changes — EU NCAP, NHTSA, MLIT, ANCAP — and consumers’ safety & comfort requirements all strengthen the trend towards smart cars.
Building a real venture
While investigating the project as a potential investment, it was not a negligible factor that the founder is already a successful entrepreneur. His previous company, Kishonti Ltd. is the world leader company in benchmarking and performance optimisation. Laszlo started his career as an economist developing macroeconomic forecasts, pricing bonds and derivatives, doing portfolio modelling and managing funds. Then he came up with the idea to do a benchmark for mobile chips’ performance, which from a garage project eventually became a prospering company included inDeloitte’s Technology Fast 500 ranking in Europe.
Any project cannot be successful without a great team supporting the company’s vision and aims. I had the chance to meet those 14 world-class people sitting in the Budapest based office, who are already working hard and with enthusiasm on this disruptive technology. As most of them are tech people or scientists, they could talk hours about their mission, but they are all very clear about their tasks and responsibility. To keep up with the evolving project the team is expected to double in size next year.
Laszlo not only has experience in creating a well-operating organization, but he has access to a network of top names from the global market: partly due to his previous enterprise, which works for companies such as Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia; partly due to the forming partnerships all across the automotive industry vertical with leading chip manufacturers, Tier1s (making car components) and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers, assembling components & producing vehicles).
Membership in a prestigious club
The Superman pitch has taken its effect. Business angels, institutional financial investors as well as strategic investors showed interest for the AdasWorks project, especially its results from the past, its vision about the future and its talent pool represented by the team. The Series ‘A’ round that amounted to EUR 2.4 million was co-led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital(RBVC) and Inventure, followed by us (OTP-DayOne Seed Investment Fund) and the American angel investor, Tim Draper. Even if it always takes time and efforts to raise a round from the founder’s side, we think that Laszlo did a good job here, and we are happy to be part of this prominent co-investor community. We believe that each of the investors will have their specific added value. We see ours in our local presence close to the operation. I have to say that the investment process was quite smooth, so we look forward to a fruitful cooperation with the AdasWorks team and our partners!
And what else could we wish for: take us for an unforgettable ride AdasWorks!