Helsinki-based Basemark raises €22m to make driving safer with augmented reality

Helsinki-based Basemark raises €22m to make driving safer with augmented reality

Published: 09-04-2024 12:34:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 1574 | Tags:

Basemark, the provider of automotive augmented reality (AR) software that enables original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop AR applications for their cars, has raised €22 million in series B funding. The round was a combination of equity, grants, and loans, and was led by ETF Partners, with funding also coming from Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi), Constructor Capital, a single family office based in Zürich, Business Finland, the European Innovation Council, and private investors.

Basemark will use the capital to deepen its business with OEMs in Europe and the United States and fund its international expansion to Japan, China, and South Korea. The aim is to secure more series production deals with OEMs, and strengthen its Rocksolid AR software development tools. The company secured its first series production deal with an OEM in the United States last year and is also actively discussing with major OEMs in Europe and Asia.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.19 million people were killed on roadways around the world in 2023. To improve safety and provide a more enjoyable driving experience, Basemark’s automotive AR software solution, Rocksolid AR, makes it fast, easy, and affordable for OEMs to develop their own Augmented Reality applications for Heads-up Displays (HUDs) and other in-vehicle screens. AR HUDs improve driving safety by projecting real-time contextual guidance, alerts, and other AR content onto the windshield, helping drivers to constantly keep their eyes on the road.

Unlike its competitors, which solely focus on providing AR software development services, Rocksolid AR enables OEMs to develop AR solutions themselves by combining an AR development studio with an interconnected AR software development kit (SDK). This combination enables the efficient development of bespoke AR applications that reflect the unique brands of various OEMs.

Tero Sarkkinen, Founder and CEO, Basemark: ''We are pleased to welcome new investors Tesi and Constructor Capital onboard, as well as thank our existing investor ETF for their continued support. Constructor Capital’s Founder, Serg Bell, is an exceptional entrepreneur and has founded many companies that offer synergies to Basemark. We’re excited to work together to make driving more safe and enjoyable. OEMs want to become software developers themselves because of the software-defined car megatrend. However, AR development is very slow, expensive, and tedious to learn, requiring expertise in AI, computer vision, graphics, and embedded systems. Traditional HMI development tools do not have computer vision capabilities, so there was a growing need for an AR development tool in the automotive industry. That’s why we developed Rocksolid AR, the world’s first series production-grade automotive AR development tool set capable of addressing the unique challenges of AR in the automotive industry.''

Most AR solutions struggle to anchor AR content to the real world. Rocksolid AR includes advanced localization and motion tracking mechanisms to ensure AR content is always anchored correctly to real-world objects and appears in the correct position in the driver’s Field of View, regardless of motion or vibration.

Additionally, Rocksolid AR has built-in algorithms to combat latency, which can make the AR content feel disconnected from the real world and cause motion sickness. It can also automatically understand safety-critical information in the environment and avoid blocking it with AR content to ensure a safe and immersive AR experience.

''Displaying the right information at the right time and place for the driver is the most difficult part of developing immersive automotive AR experiences. Rocksolid AR handles all the AI heavy lifting for positioning content in the most immersive way, enabling OEMs to focus on brand differentiation,'' continues Sarkkinen.

Basemark’s Rocksolid AR Studio enables OEMs to develop lightweight, portable AR applications that can fit on low-end chips and power multiple in-vehicle displays simultaneously, such as HUDs, instrument clusters, infotainment displays, and E-mirrors.

Remy de Tonnac, Senior Partner, ETF Partners: ''In the future, as autonomous cars become the norm, we expect a significant decrease in the total number of vehicles on the road, with the majority being electric. This shift will result in a substantial reduction of emissions. Augmented reality is key to this transformation, serving as an integral component of the Software Defined Vehicle megatrend that is guiding the automotive industry toward full autonomy. Basemark is at the forefront of the AR/VR HUD technology revolution and they are perfectly positioned to help OEMs craft safer, more sustainable, and more enjoyable driving experiences for all.''

Serg Bell, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Constructor Group: ''Finland has produced many category-leading software companies in the world and I see Basemark having an opportunity to become one in the professional augmented reality field. Developer tools are close to my heart and I am very happy to support Basemark in its growth phase and beyond.''

In 2022, Basemark announced it has significantly contributed to BMW Group’s new iX AR applications. The company also counts several other well-known OEMs and Tier-1 companies as customers from the USA, Germany, France, Italy, and UK. To date, Basemark has raised €34 million in total funding and currently has operations in Helsinki, Munich, Detroit and the San Francisco Bay Area. The global automotive heads-up display market size was valued at $1.43 billion in 2023 and is projected to hit around USD 17.43 billion by 2032, with a CAGR of 31.97% from 2023 to 2032.

Basemark will exhibit and demo Rocksolid AR at Embedded World 2024 in Nuremberg, Germany, from April 9th to 11th, 2024.  Financial advisory company Prescus Capital advised Basemark in the VC and private investors part and financial advisory company Civitta in the EIC part of the funding.