Korean startup Mobiltech is making autonomous driving easier with its 3D spatial information technology. The startup is targeting the global market of autonomous driving and is aiming to create a niche for itself.
Mobiltech CEO Jason Kim answered some questions regarding the company for koreatechdesk.com.
1. Tell us about your startup and the vision behind the startup.
At Mobiltech, we deliver and develop 3D precision maps for autonomous driving and smart city domain. Our vision is to become a global leader in the emerging 3D map market and advance industrial innovation. In addition, we will refine this technology so it can be used for 3D surveying in space exploration such as Mars or Moon, as well as in recording cities where we live.
2. What is the problem you are trying to solve with the startup?
First, it is to bring a paradigm shift in the concept of the map for the future. The existing two-dimensional maps are targeting people. It is powerful, however, a machine cannot really understand it accurately. The three-dimensional maps of the road environment are essential for autonomous cars or robots to move safely. Mobiltech produces very precise three-dimensional maps suitable for this need.
The second point is the inefficient mapping process. 3D maps are not widely used for now, because its collection and processing are very complicated and involve labor-intensive processes. To solve these problems, Mobiltech concentrates on the automation of the whole process by applying Artificial Intelligence (AI). We already have made a significant difference from the traditional process in the duration and cost.
3. What is the market opportunity for such technology?
Technically, it is an essential element of autonomous driving and the smart city. For an efficient understanding of the entire road environment, the 3D map is necessary. It is not limited to vehicles, but all sorts of machines executing an autonomous movement. The coverage of the 3D map will gradually expand to most types of spaces.
4. How is the product priced?
We sell the data on a per-kilometer basis. Generally, the price is set at 10 million won per site, but the real-time updated map will be converted into a subscription contract.
5. How did the founding team come together?
The team started from a graduate school lab in Korea and an architecture student from France. Our main research field was nonlinear control of a drone system and a 3D map for robot localization. However, the drone industry had not matured that time to be commercialized, so we pivoted our interests to the autonomous vehicles because the basis of autonomy is the same regardless of the shape of the platform.
6. What is unique in what you are doing?
Mobiltech covers A to Z of high-precision map production by using its own developed spatial information collecting device and Artificial Intelligence algorithm. Its effectiveness is also verified by the localization test based on the map. Through this process, conversion of space into the 3D data and object categorization are performed with less time and cost than any other company.
Plus, the efficiency of the process is constantly being improved with continuously developing Artificial Intelligence technology.
Through this, we have already constructed spatial information in the Seoul metropolitan area. This is a record no one has achieved in the same duration.
7. What have you learned so far in the startup business and what are your insights?
As AI technology is becoming more intelligent, a vehicle or robot must understand space and judge its movements. We recognize that digital twin technology needs innovation to help the machines understand the world we see.
To fulfill the needs of 3D spatial data, the production process must be further shortened. This is not simply a problem that can be solved by using the cheap labor of a third world country, but it requires the production and continuous updating of astronomical data.
8. Can you talk about funding history?
We are raising for Series A funding. Mobiltech has an investment of $400k for Seed round, and we are expecting $ 4 million for this round. Series A will be closed before October.