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Baraja, maker of LiDAR, raises $32 million in Series A funding

Baraja, the creator of Spectrum-Scan LiDAR for autonomous vehicles, announced today a Series A investment of $32 million from Sequoia China, Blackbird Ventures, and the CSIRO Innovation Fund managed by Main Sequence Ventures.

Baraja, which in July 2018 launched a novel LiDAR system that uses prism-like optics and shifting wavelengths of light to create powerful eyes for self-driving vehicles, will use the funding to scale production, hire talent and continue its mission to enable safer autonomous driving.

Steven Ji, partner from Sequoia China, has joined Baraja’s board of directors as part of the deal. “Baraja’s Spectrum-Scan LiDAR solution is a completely new category of LiDAR technology that dispenses with expensive, spinning lasers,” Ji said. “Everyone understands the challenges for traditional LiDAR. They’re prohibitively expensive, difficult to manufacture at scale, and need to be incredibly robust. These problems need to be solved for the fully-autonomous vehicle to become a reality, which is why we’re so excited to be working with Baraja.”

Since bringing Spectrum-Scan LiDAR to market, Baraja has worked with the world’s top autonomous technology companies.

For customers, the differentiating factor with the Spectrum-Scan approach to LiDAR is the ability for self-driving software to instantaneously change scan resolution and adapt to the environment, similar to how humans can control their visual focus.

The Spectrum-Scan technique allows Baraja’s LIDAR to be software-defined, meaning it can be directly controlled and reconfigured by perception algorithms in response to changing environments and driving conditions, allowing for better safety and a quicker path for self-driving vehicles to go to market.

“As Baraja ramps up manufacturing capabilities, we are well-positioned to capitalise on growing demand for scalable, high-performance LiDAR that can realistically be integrated into vehicles,” said Rod Lopez, Baraja COO. “We are very proud of the depth of talent and maturity in our manufacturing capabilities, and our recent attainment of ISO 9001 certification.”

“There are so many LiDAR companies out there that simply haven’t invested in the systems and processes required to manufacture at scale,” Lopez added.

Baraja is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, and is growing its offices in San Francisco and Shanghai. The company is currently expanding throughout the United States and Asia.

“As we grow our offices in Sydney, Shanghai and Silicon Valley, Sequoia China, Blackbird and Main Sequence are ideal partners to accelerate our growth in the autonomous vehicle space,” said Federico Collarte, Baraja CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with partners that not only bring capital, but vast strategic experience to our team.”

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