In the company’s latest round of funding, Quanergy Systems gathered another $90 million from investors seeking growth opportunities in the booming autonomous-vehicle space. The latest round, led by Sensata Technologies, brings the company’s postfunding valuation up to $1.59 billion, Quanergy CEO, Luoay Eldada, reported to Fortune. Additional investors included Samsung Ventures, auto parts manufacturer Delphi Automotive (DLPH), Motus Ventures and GP Capital. Quanergy’s total funding now tops $150 million.
Quanergy Develops Cheaper Light-Sensitive Radar Technology
Quanergy Systems, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., specializes in developing light-detection and ranging sensors used in autonomous vehicles. Self-driving cars rely on sensors, cameras, GPS systems, and other advanced technology to analyze their surroundings and navigate roads safely. Quanergy has particularly focused on decreasing the price of expensive light-sensitive radar technology, called LiDAR systems. LiDAR systems emit pulses of laser light that help driverless cars’ software form high-definition 3-D models of their surroundings. Autonomous vehicle players, such as Google (GOOG) and Ford Motor Co. (F), have integrated LiDAR technologies into their self-driving cars. Originally, LiDAR systems developed by Quanergy’s competitor, Velodyne, held a price tag of $80,000. With the price down to about 10% of the initial cost, at $8,000, investors and tech companies see a potentially lucrative opportunity to offer more cost-efficient LiDAR sensors. Just last week, Ford and Chinese search giant Baidu co-invested $150 million in Velodyne.
(Also, see: Ford Acquires SAIPS for Self-Driving Auto Plan.)
Quanergy will use its latest funding to bolster production of its two main product lines, aiming to reach full capacity by the first few months of 2017. In January, Quanergy released its S3 LiDAR sensor, which it aims to sell for a maximum of $250 once the product reaches production volume. The technology startup has also introduced a simplified version called the S3-Qi for drones, to be available for $100. The latest $90-million in funding will help Quanergy boost production in partnership with Texas Instruments (TXN), producing sensors for the automotive and global electronics manufacturer, and with Flextronics International (Flex), manufacturing sensors for security, industrial automation and 3-D mapping applications.