Sydney company Baraja has fulfilled its founders’ dreams by inking a deal to industrialise an idea first developed over a quiet beer in 2015.
Baraja will team with Swedish automotive technology specialist Veoneer to bring their breakthrough Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR technology to autonomous vehicles.
LiDAR is short for Light Detection and Ranging. The technology offers the promise of a constant day-night all conditions 3d sensor able to measure distances with extreme accuracy.
Baraja Spectrum-Scan™ LiDAR completely rethinks the way autonomous vehicles see the world around them. Instead of relying on fragile moving parts and oscillating mirrors, it uses dispersive optics to scan the environment. Rethinking the hardware means that LiDAR equipped vehicles can produce high-resolution point clouds to accurately detect objects at more than 250 metres away at speed while remaining immune to interference from other sensors or light sources. The technology is also more tolerant to factors that have hindered traditional LiDAR systems, such as heat, shock and vibration.
Point clouds are datasets that represent objects or space. These points represent the X, Y, and Z geometric coordinates of a single point on an underlying sampled surface. Point cloud formation is the key to Baraja’s technology; the more accurate the picture formed by the laser of the environment, the better the guidance performance of the system.
Ideas and motivations
Federico Collarte, the CEO and Cibby Pulikkaseril, the CTO, are the two dreamers who founded Baraja; they came up with the idea while developing components and sub-systems for optical telecommunications for the internet.
The team focused on using a fibre optic laser that could reconfigure itself quickly.
“We thought if we could set the light free and send it through prism like optics, we could steer a laser beam without moving parts. The idea seemed too simple, if it worked then everybody would be doing it this way,” said Pulikkaseril. And the idea worked.
Collarte tells the story that he wanted to develop something to point and say, “I invented that.” The duo was used to burying their handiwork in the ground and moving on anonymously.
If recognition was one motivator, so too was the desire to solve a puzzle. The two partners wanted to be challenged by something technically interesting but essential and scaleable, with a considerable market. They also wanted to make it compelling by making it cheaper and better than anything else in their chosen space.
A new partnership
Veoneer has spent decades developing automotive-grade sensing solutions for driver assistance and autonomy applications. It was no accident that the methodical Swedes found the two Sydney inventors.
“Veoneer is committed to offering safe, robust, high-quality sensor solutions to vehicle manufacturers globally. We have performed extensive research among 70 LiDAR technology companies globally, and have come to the conclusion that by partnering with Baraja, Veoneer will be able to offer and integrate scalable automotive-grade LiDAR-sensors in future cars, at competitive prices,” said Jan Carlson, Chairman, President and CEO of Veoneer.
Collarte is equally bullish on the match the companies have made, saying, “Veoneer is a natural partner for us. We built our Spectrum-Scan™ technology to enable autonomous driving that is safer, more accessible and ready today for the next generation of vehicles. By combining our technology with Veoneer’s vast experience in automotive design and platform integration, this partnership helps ensure the world’s leading automotive brands can bring that autonomous reality to more people.”