Volvo Cars has invested in the optical and imaging technology start-up Spectralics through the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the company’s venture capital investment arm. The investment gives Volvo Cars access to promising technology at an early stage of development that could contribute to making cars safer and revolutionise in-car user experience.
Coming from a background in aerospace technology development, Israel-based Spectralics creates state-of-the-art imaging and optical infrastructure spanning materials, hardware and software, enabling a wide variety of advanced optical capabilities.
One of the company’s core solutions is the multi-layered thin combiner (MLTC) which is a new type of thin optics ‘film’ applicable to see-through surfaces of all shapes and sizes. Integrated into a car’s windshield or windows, the technology could be used to overlay imagery on the glass.
In a windshield configuration, the technology could create a wide field of view ‘heads-up display’ that can instil a sense of distance as virtual objects are superimposed onto the real-world environment for a safe and immersive experience.
“Spectralics is an exciting company with technology that holds truly great promise,” says Henrik Green, chief product officer at Volvo Cars. “By supporting their development, we can bring forward the potential their products could have in future Volvo cars.”
Other potential uses of the technology include advanced filters for various applications, in-cabin sensing, blind-proof front-looking cameras and digital holographic projections.
“We are proud to partner with a progressive technology leader like Volvo Cars,” said Ran Bar-Yosef, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spectralics. “We identify multiple touch-points with Volvo Cars’ vision in the ecosystem and recognise future Volvos as the right fit for new technologies.”
Spectralics is an alumnus of the MobilityXLab programme in Gothenburg, Sweden and is part of the Drive network in Tel-Aviv, Israel. They are both accelerators for promising start-ups with ideas that can break new ground in the mobility sector. Volvo Cars has been a leading partner in both initiatives since 2017.
“This investment is another result of our successful collaboration with MobilityXlab and DRIVE, and it deepens our relationship with these innovation partners,” says Lee Ma, head of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “Spectralics is a good portfolio fit for us and we believe that their technology has the potential to set a standard for the next generation of displays and cameras.”
The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was launched in 2018 and invests in high-potential technology start-ups around the globe. It focuses its investments on strategic technology trends transforming the auto industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification and autonomous driving.