Point One: On the Road to Full Vehicle Autonomy
Positioning 100x More Accurate Than GPS That Works Anywhere
Alumni Ventures portfolio company Point One Navigation is developing precise positioning for transportation and industrial applications. Even in challenging environments where competing products fail, Point One’s sensor fusion and signal management deliver consistent, accurate location.
Point One Navigation’s LiDAR Data Stitching
In just one afternoon, Point One built a scalable technical demonstration for globally geo-referencing LiDAR scans without stitching, showcasing how high-precision GNSS solutions can develop a universal reference frame for global mapping at scale. Watch this video to learn more.
See video policy below.
Enabling Full Self-Driving Autonomy
Given the advances made by companies like 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 the Deal
Triphammer Ventures (for the Cornell community) sponsored our investments in Point One. 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. The extremely sticky solution has also resulted in zero churn.
Large, Growing MarketThe global navigation satellite system market is expected to reach $453 Billion by 2030.* 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.
Deeply Technical Team With Sector ExperienceCEO Aaron Nathan has led multiple companies 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.
*ReportLinker, “Global Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Market to Reach $453 Billion by 2030,” GlobeNewswire, January 27, 2023
How We Are Involved
Triphammer sponsored AV’s investments in Point One’s $10 million Series A in 2021 and a Series B in 2023. We co-invested alongside BOLT, IA Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and UP.Partners. Sibling funds Nassau Street Ventures (for the Princeton community) as well as AV’s Deep Tech Fund, Growth Fund, and Total Access Fund also participated in the round.
As Triphammer Managing Partner Emeritus 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 VC 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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