Raythink, a provider of in-vehicle AR display products and solutions, announced recently that the company has received tens of millions of yuan in series A financing led by Plum Ventures and joined by Qianhai FOF, Weed Ventures and existing investor Oriental Fortune Capital. Funds from this round of financing will be mainly used for a rail transit laboratory, HUD (heads-up display) mass production and automotive-grade certification.
Founded in 2019, Raythink has obtained many patents. Its AR-HUD products are mainly used in rail transit and passenger car scenarios and are all front-mounted. The company's revenue is mainly generated from two commercial segments: in-vehicle and rail transit, and is expected to exceed tens of millions of yuan in 2021.
In the in-vehicle market, high-end passenger vehicles are generally equipped with an HUD, but the display content is relatively limited, usually providing only the speed of the vehicle, navigation functionality and entertainment information. With AR HUD, drivers can see real-scene navigation information projection, receive road conditions/road sign cues, driving status and other information while on the road. By integrating the information with the live environment, distraction of the driver's attention from the driving environment is minimized.
The information displayed by AR-HUD products available on the market are mainly presented through windshield projection, so the display specifications are low, and the display screen and information are limited. Moreover, the imaging depth of field is relatively shallow, so the driver needs to constantly adjust his vision as he or she hops back and forth between the real and the AR scene, leading to visual fatigue.
Raythink provides a software development kit (SDK) that allows for an AR-HUD system integration that flexibly connect maps and service data, and a user-friendly interface for easy addition of GPS, cameras, sensors, millimeter-wave radar, lidar and other advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) sensors. Auto manufacturers only need to install it into the automotive system to assure safe navigation, safe driving, and provide the driver with crossroad reminders.
At present, the company has achieved AR HUD in-vehicle assembly based on a real BMW i3 vehicle, with field of view (FOV) above 23° (measured at a distance 900mm from the windshield), virtual image distance (VID) over 15 meters after continuous road testing for 12 months.
As for rail transit, Raythink is collaborating with China Railway Signal & Communication Corp., the only Tier-1 company in the rail transit electronics sector to develop AR-HUD products combined with active safety protection systems loaded into the cockpit.
After loading the A-cam assembly, train drivers and dispatchers will have a safety decision base time from a minimum of 13 seconds to a maximum of 48 seconds based on the benchmark of identifying barriers 2 km away.
Raythink CEO Ray Lu said the product is now in the engineering validation phase and is on track to start shipping before the end of the year.
Raythink has made huge strides in the last product upgrade, especially in four key aspects: optics, hardware, structure and software.
On the optical system, Raythink has developed the OpticalCore® technology and module. Based on LBS spatial imaging display, this technology features high imaging clarity, high brightness, high luminous efficiency, and low power consumption.
As for the software, Raythink built its own AR Generator SDK, assuring accurate and real-time space imaging that addresses the real-time and accurate imaging difficulties of augmented reality technologies that need to combine navigation and positioning, an automated driving system (ADS) and overall safety of the vehicle during the dynamic driving process. In addition, Raythink has it on its roadmap to quickly develop qualified scenarios, icons and other designs to meet customers' customized requirements.
In hardware and structure, when combined with light extraction micro-grid technology, the entire optical path system of its products is small. Furthermore, the wedge mode design has been removed as an option to greatly reduce bill of material (BOM) cost and simplify the production process for the customer, providing an opportunity for Raythink to vastly scale up production and expand market penetration.