Meet Lunewave: URBAN-X Alumni Leading the Advancement of Autonomous Vehicles
This team is 3D printing the “eyes” of self-driving cars.
Taxis hardly resemble the steel cages on wheels we had in the 20th century. When hailing a cab, customers now choose between bedroom suite taxis, mobile office taxis, gym taxis, and dining taxis to name a few. A new world of consumer choice for transportation is just one of the many benefits of our fully autonomous vehicle ecosystem. Self-driving cars have reduced vehicular accidents by 90%. The system is so safe we even have self-driving bar taxis serving college towns across the country, giving a whole new meaning to the saying, “one more for the road.”
This vision of the future is fast becoming a reality. But it is only possible with the right technological advancements, specifically mobility antennas and sensors that are cheaper, safer, and communicate faster than what we have today. And it seems now that a company called Lunewave has developed just such technology: the “eyes” of self-driving cars with a 360-degree field of vision and optimal clarity.
Built in Tucson, Arizona, Lunewave was founded in 2017 by Hao Xin, John Xin, Min Liang and Sherry Byon focusing on research and development in microwave and millimeter wave frequency engineering. Hao, an MIT Ph.D and University of Arizona professor, knew that he and his team were building technology that could offer solutions in a variety of markets including telecommunications, aerospace, autonomous transportation, drones, and more. He just wasn’t yet sure how to best to bring it to market.
Then the founders discovered URBAN-X, a tech startup accelerator program whose mission is to reimagine city life. Based in Brooklyn, NY, URBAN-X selects up to 20 promising companies per year and invests $150,000 into each of them as part of an immersive process lasting 20 weeks.
URBAN-X’s goal is to accelerate startups with in-house experts focusing on product development and customer development, all in preparation for further fundraising. Operated in partnership between MINI and venture fund Urban.Us, 85% of companies who have participated in the program have gone on to raise their next round of capital.
Since its inception, URBAN-X has accelerated 37 companies working to create disruptive and scalable solutions in sectors including mobility, real estate, construction, infrastructure, food, water, energy, and more.
When Lunewave applied and was accepted to URBAN-X’s Cohort 03, Xin and his team relocated to Brooklyn where they worked for five months with on-site experts-in-residence, and a community of serial founders, industrial designers, engineers, UX/UI experts, and software developers.
Within the accelerator, Lunewave transformed into a venture-backable business with a fully developed go-to-market strategy, fundraising plan, and high-design product. Most importantly, Luneware identified and delivered a working prototype required to realize a future with self-driving cars: highly sophisticated, 3D-printed, “eyes” for autonomous (ADAS/AV) vehicles. Despite all the hype, self-driving cars will only work when they can “see” better than human drivers.Lunewave is delivering on that promise.
Since completing the URBAN-X program, Lunewave demonstrated proof-of-concept with BMW Startup Garage at a test track in Germany; a critical milestone in their development and raised $5 million in seed funding from Fraser McCombs Capital, Baidu Ventures, SAIC Ventures and BMW iVentures. Now, Lunewave is hiring top talent to continue to develop its groundbreaking radar and antenna technologies, leading the acceleration of autonomous car deployment.
Are you working on innovative tech that could help reimagine city life? Do you have a startup aiming to transform or advance global mobility? Urban-X may be the right opportunity to accelerate your startup and work among leaders in design, product development, bring-to-market strategy, and fundraising.
URBAN-X applications are now open through April 1st, 2019 for URBAN-X’s Summer ‘19 cohort beginning June 3rd, 2019 at A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York.
Futurism fans: To create this content, a non-editorial team worked with URBAN-X, who sponsored this post. They help us keep the lights on. This post does not necessarily reflect the views or the endorsement of the Futurism.com editorial staff.