The Los Angeles Auto Show (LA Auto Show) and AutoMobility LA announced that GhostWave, Innoviz Technologies, and WayRay were selected as the top three companies for the 2017 Top Ten Automotive Startups competition presented by Magna International, Inc. Following recognition of the finalists at AutoMobility LA on Nov. 28, WayRay was announced as the grand prize winner.
Selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants, GhostWave, Innoviz Technologies, and WayRay were recognized as standout startups for their innovative and unique approaches to solving current and future mobility challenges. This year's top three startups all use cutting-edge technology to improve the way people get from point A to point B.
WayRay was awarded the competition's grand prize live on-stage following a selection by the panel of judges, comprised of executives from the LA Auto Show executive team, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Porsche Consulting, Sansea Consulting, and Time Inc.'s The Drive.
As part of the grand prize package, WayRay received a live on-stage mentoring session at AutoMobility LA from tech luminaries including renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Tai; president and CEO Porsche Consulting North America, Dr. Norman Firchau; and Microsoft program manager of quantum computing, Jeff Henshaw. The company was also awarded $15,000 in prize money to help further fund its business, along with a Microsoft BizSpark Plus membership consisting of $40,000 in Azure credits over two years; access to NVIDIA's annual GTC conference in Silicon Valley; consultancy from Elektrobit, Microsoft, and Porsche Consulting; NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI car computing platform; and access to EB robinos open software framework.
Located in Lausanne, Switzerland, WayRay is a developer of holographic augmented reality technologies and next-generation user interfaces. The company's holographic navigation systems present new opportunities for vehicle design and changing the way people can access information in their vehicles by focusing on using the windshield for the delivery of content and information.
"WayRay has stood out amongst some extremely distinguished competitors and we are very happy to announce them as the winner of our 2017 Top Ten Automotive Startups Competition," said LA Auto Show and AutoMobility LA President, Lisa Kaz. "It is extremely gratifying to know that AutoMobility LA's global competition can help promising startups advance in an ever-growing mobility sector."
All Top Ten Automotive Startups finalists were recognized at AutoMobility LA in front of 25,000 media and industry professionals including automakers, tech executives, designers, developers, investors, dealers, government officials, analysts, and fellow startups. This year's Top Ten Startups included a broad spectrum of finalists representing autonomous vehicle software and management solutions, artificial intelligence developers, ridesharing software providers, and electric vehicle charging tools. In total, a prize equivalent of more than $200,000 was provided to this year's winners, including valuable business tools to help them advance the development of their organizations
Among the top three, GhostWave, headquartered in Ohio, provides advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) radar units with two strategic technologies—the first being immunity from mutual interference, which supports blind spot detection (BSD) and collision avoidance. The second is a vehicle obstacle warning radar that discriminates between high- and low-priority objects, such as animals, pedestrians, and potholes.
Also in the top three, Innoviz Technologies, based in Israel, develops LiDAR remote sensing solutions to enable the mass commercialization of autonomous vehicles. LiDAR is important for autonomous systems as it allows for accurate plotting of the vehicle's position relative to other objects. Innoviz was chosen for its technology's ability to deliver superior performance at an affordable cost and at the necessary size for mass market adoption.
"GhostWave, Innoviz Technologies, and WayRay have each developed technologies that we believe will make a significant impact on the future of mobility," said Manuela Papadopol, Co-founder of Sansea Consulting and AutoMobility LA Advisory Board member. "We had an incredibly impressive group of startups apply for the Top Ten competition in 2017, and we couldn't be more excited about this year's finalists and the newly announced Top Three. The complexity of the autonomous vehicle is only going to increase as we move to a new era of mobility, and we believe that any of these startups are well positioned to succeed and have an impact on transportation."