Holographic startup Envisics partners with Panasonic to fast-track in-car AR tech – TechCrunch

Envisics founded by And CEO Dr. Jamison christmas Started the startup three years ago to “revolutionize” the in-car experience with its holographic technology. Now, it has a partner who can help achieve that mission.

The UK-based holographic technology startup said it reached an agreement on Friday Panasonic Automotive Systems jointly develops and commercializes a new generation of head-up displays for cars, trucks and SUVs. Panasonic Automotive Systems is a Tier 1 automotive supplier and a division of the Panasonic Corporation of North America. Head-up displays are units integrated into a vehicle’s dash that project images onto the windshield to assist drivers with navigation and provide other alerts. Panasonic HUDs, as they are often called, will use Envisics holographic technology.

Deal, announced before virtual 2021 CES The tech trade show follows Envixix’s $ 50 million Series B funding round and news that its technology will be integrated into the upcoming Cadillac Lyric Electric Vehicles. Round of funding, which gave Envixix a valuation of over $ 250 million, of which the investment included Hyundai Mobis, GM Ventures, SAIC Ventures and Van Tuyl Companies.

The technology of Envisics, whose foundation stemmed from a Christmas PhD study at Cambridge University 15 years ago, electronically manipulated the speed of light. This process enables images to be displayed three-dimensional, Christmas explained in a recent interview. The company has obtained more than 250 patents and another 160 pending certification.

The company has focused solely on the automotive application of holography, Christmas said, with its first generation already integrated into more than 150,000 Jaguar Land Rover vehicles.

Christmas said the new agreement aims to incorporate Panasonic’s expertise in optical design and its global reach as a Tier 1 supplier, bringing mainstream holography with Envivix’s technology. According to the companies, vehicles using its technology for 2023 are mass produced.

“It’s a lot about part of our business plan, you know that the series B funding round we started was about growing the business and enabling us to move forward to enter the market, “Christmas said. “Part of this was a commitment to partner with the Tier people that we can then work on to market these products.

“This is the first of those agreements,” he said, suggesting that Envisix has a much larger purpose.

What this means, Christmas said, will be head-up displays with high resolutions, wide color gamut and large images that can dominate reality. The technique can also project information over multiple distances simultaneously.

“That really unlocks a lot of interesting applications,” he said. “In the short term, it will be like relatively simple augmented reality applications like navigation, the lane you want to be in and some security applications to uncover. But as you move into things like autonomous driving it opens up a whole gamut of other opportunities such as entertainment and video conferencing. “

He said that it can also be used for night vision applications such as enhanced information on a dark road to clarify where the road is going and what obstacles there may be.