Vai Photonics, a Canberra startup spun out of Australian Nationwide College final 12 months to assist automobiles navigate independently of GPS, has been acquired by Sydney tech firm Superior Navigation in a deal believed to be value as much as $40 million.
Based by physicists Lyle Roberts and James Spollard to commercialise their analysis, Vai Photonics has a staff of seven engineers constructing sensors that allow automobiles to navigate with precision and confidence when GPS is both unavailable or unreliable.
Sydney-based Superior Navigation has been working in the identical area for greater than a decade and counts Airbus, Boeing, Google, Apple, and Basic Motors amongst its shoppers.
Superior Navigation co-founder and -co-CEO Xavier Orr mentioned the merger will see them give attention to commercialising the Vai Photonics analysis into autonomous and robotic functions throughout land, air, sea and area.
“The expertise Vai Photonics is growing might be of big significance to the rising autonomy revolution. The synergies, shared imaginative and prescient and collaborative potential we see between Vai Photonics and Superior Navigation will allow us to be on the absolute forefront of robotic and autonomy pushed applied sciences,” he mentioned.
“Photonic expertise might be crucial to the general success, security and reliability of those new programs. We stay up for sharing the following technology of autonomous navigation and robotic options with the worldwide neighborhood.”
A serious problem
Spollard, Vai’s CTO, mentioned precision navigation when GPS is unavailable or unreliable is a serious problem for autonomous programs.
“Our rising photonic sensing expertise will allow positioning and navigation that’s orders of magnitude extra steady and exact than present options in these environments,” he mentioned.
“By combining laser interferometry and electro-optics with superior sign processing algorithms and real-time software program, we are able to measure how briskly a car is shifting in three dimensions. In consequence, we are able to precisely measure how the car is shifting by the atmosphere, and from this infer the place the car is situated with nice precision.”
They’ve been engaged on the expertise for greater than 15 years at ANU, to unravel complicated autonomy challenges throughout aerospace, automotive, climate, area exploration in addition to railways and logistics. Its functions vary from electrical vertical takeoff and touchdown programs for flying taxis to area exploration.
His co-founder and the startup’s CEO Dr Roberts mentioned it was an enormous win for the staff, which can now be capable to convey its product to market earlier than initially deliberate.
“We now have entry to main analysis and growth amenities together with robust distribution channels. We couldn’t have requested for a greater final result and stay up for navigating the longer term with Superior Navigation.”
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt mentioned Vai Photonics is one other nice instance of how elementary analysis – considering that pushes the boundaries of what we all know – interprets into life-changing expertise.
“The work that underpins Vai Photonics’ superior autonomous navigation programs stems from the seek for elusive gravitational waves – ripples in area and time attributable to huge cosmic occasions like black holes colliding,” he mentioned.
“The staff have constructed on a decade of analysis and growth throughout superior and ultra-precise laser measurements, digital alerts and quantum optics to construct their progressive navigation expertise. We’re proud to have backed Vai Photonics by our Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics and enterprise and commercialisation workplace. It’s actually thrilling to see the staff take one other main step of their unbelievable journey.”
The acquisition finalised final month and the Vai Photonics staff has been built-in into Superior Navigation’s analysis and growth staff, at a brand new Canberra analysis facility.