May 7, 2021
Former Vatics executives to lead Kneron's surveillance and security camera division
American AI chip and software developer Kneron has acquired Vatics, an image signal processing (ISP) technology provider based in Taiwan, in a deal worth $10 million.
Vatics was a subsidiary of VIVOTEK, itself owned by manufacturing giant Delta Electronics – which has invested $7 million into Kneron.
“We’re proud to welcome Vatics and its technology to the Kneron family. This is a significant milestone for us at Kneron – in our quest to be the market leader in AI, it’s crucial that we offer a breadth of products to our customers that contain best-in-class technology,” Albert Liu, founder, and CEO of Kneron, said.
“This acquisition will allow us to offer full-stack AI solutions, along with our current class-leading NPUs, and will significantly speed up our go-to-market strategy."
Acquisitions and injections
The technology developed at Vatics will be integrated into a new suite of chips made by Kneron, with the first units expected to launch later this year.
Combining Vatics’ ISPs with Kneron’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU) will create a full-stack AI solution for customers, the company said.
Vatics’ tech can be found in surveillance, automotive, and consumer markets across the US, China, Japan, and Taiwan.
As part of the deal, Delta Electronics is investing $7 million in Kneron, as an extension of its Series A funding round.
Delta’s injection of cash joins investments from Horizons Ventures, with Alibaba, Qualcomm, Sequoia, and more, with the startup raising more than $100 million to date.
Sor Shen, general manager at Vatics, said: “We’re proud to join the Kneron family. We believe our technology is a perfect fit for Kneron’s vision, and we’re excited to help Kneron continue to expand its product offerings, especially in the surveillance and automotive industries.”
Kneron’s purchase of Vatic comes after it announced it would be expanding into the autonomous vehicle and electric vehicle markets.
Contract manufacturer Foxconn, and Honda and Toyota supplier Otus, have already agreed to use Kneron’s technology.
Kneron said edge AI is “essential for the future of autonomous vehicle and electric vehicles,” with potential use cases including improved AI image processing for object and hazard detection and Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).
Kneron’s entry into the autonomous vehicle comes after the likes of Lyft and Uber opted to sell up and get out, with Toyota and Aurora picking up the companies’ respective self-driving units.
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