Point One: On the Road to Full Vehicle Autonomy
Positioning Within <4 Inches — 100x More Accurate Than GPS — and Works Anywhere
Even in challenging environments where competing products fail, Point One’s sensor fusion and signal management deliver consistent, accurate location.
Given all the advances made by companies such as Tesla and Waymo, you might expect self-driving vehicles to be a common sight on roads by now. However, a key pain point blocking their mainstream adoption has been precise, reliable navigation tech.
GPS, while universally available, is only accurate within 8.2 feet and loses signal in overpasses or where tall buildings interfere. Cameras lack depth perception, which is essential for full autonomy, they cannot see at night, and they are susceptible to weather conditions. Lastly, while LiDAR sensors are highly accurate, they are costly and hard to calibrate, maintain, and package.
In contrast, Point One Navigation’s game-changing technology is affordable, works anywhere, and provides the consistent, granular accuracy needed for full autonomy. Its product is able to report positioning within 4 inches, which is 100x greater precision than GPS, and its solution works for vehicles, robots, drones, and any other industrial application that’s movable and teleconnected — from transportation and delivery to construction, mining, and surveillance.
Disruptive Tech Earns Impressive Traction
Point One’s team has created a unique sensor fusion algorithm that combines corrected GPS, inertial navigation, computer vision, and mapping into a single package. They tightly integrate these data sources to produce a statistically optimal solution of position and orientation at a rate of 100x per second. This software-based solution can be easily integrated into almost any host device and is compatible with a vehicle’s existing sensors — making it much cheaper and simpler than hardware-based solutions.
Point One has attracted numerous beachhead customers, including name-brand auto manufacturers and leading tech companies. The company’s solution is also in use by drones and autonomous lawnmowers designed by Drone Deploy and Scythe Robotics, respectively.
What We Liked About Point One Navigation
Triphammer Ventures (for the Cornell community) sponsored our investments in Point One Navigation. Here’s what the team liked about the company.
Attractive Business ModelPoint One has a recurring revenue model as it charges manufacturers for every vehicle on a monthly basis (per-unit pricing varies depending on how many total units are in production). The company therefore projects 80% gross margins. Because its solution is extremely sticky, it also has had zero churn.
Large, Growing MarketThe Global Navigation Satellite System market is expected to grow from both device and service sales at a CAGR of 8% to $358B by 2029. Given that legacy precision systems were limited to high-end industrial applications, the mobile and automotive sectors remained largely untapped, opening up both these sectors for mass adoption of precise positioning systems like Point One.
Deeply Technical Team With Sector ExperienceCEO Aaron Nathan has built multiple companies and led them through acquisition. He also was chief architect of an unjammable GPS for the U.S. Navy. Other executives hail from Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, Google, Telit, Ford, and Laird.
How We Are Involved
Select Alumni Ventures funds invested in Point One’s $10 million Series A round in 2021, as well as this year’s Series B, raising an undisclosed amount. Sibling fund Nassau Street Ventures (for the Princeton community) is also invested in Point One, as well as AV’s Deep Tech Fund, Growth Fund, and Total Access Fund.
As Triphammer Managing Partner David Cynn noted, Point One is in line with the kinds of startups Triphammer seeks out — ones with crucial or disruptive technologies in large and growing marketplaces.
“That is why venture capital is different from the public markets,” said Cynn. “We’re trying to look around the corner for new businesses that disrupt the status quo today.”
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