Artificial perception pioneer AEye announced the expansion of its business development team to address the global market opportunity for AEye’s iDAR™ system. The company has hired BD directors in the Americas, Europe, and Japan to support the growing network of AEye automotive partners and customers worldwide. In addition, AEye announced that former Quanergy executive Akram Benmbarek has joined AEye as VP of strategic initiatives.
Meeting Global Market Demand
AEye’s new global team of BD directors will provide in-region, full lifecycle support for the company’s OEM and tier 1 partners deploying ADAS and autonomous vehicle systems in the U.S., Europe and Asia.
In the Americas, AEye has hired Ashika Schroll. Previously the senior manager of technology and business development for automotive programs at Flex (formerly Flextronics), Ashika worked with automotive OEMs, startups and Tier 1s to enable autonomous, connectivity, electrification and smart technologies. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Northwestern.
Peter Szelei will oversee AEye’s European business from Berlin. Previously, he managed business development, as well as led the global automotive business team at navigation solution provider NNG, where he worked closely with OEMs and Tier 1s to create best-in-class solutions. He holds a masters in Management and Entrepreneurship, as well as Management.
In Asia, Itohru Iwama will be focused on Japan. He comes to AEye from Denso, where he was a business development manager. Iwama is a veteran tech and automotive executive with 20+ years of product/project management experience in automotive, electronics and software. He holds a BA in Foreign Studies and an MS in Management, and is fluent in Japanese, Chinese, German and English.
“Our unique opportunity to define the market has attracted an exceptional of professionals who know the automotive industry, are excited about the technology, and have a proven track-record in helping Tier 1s and OEMs integrate edge technologies into their products,” said Jim Robnett, AEye’s VP of automotive business development.
Extending into New Markets
In response to market demand and to facilitate commercialization of AEye’s iDAR technology into markets beyond automotive, AEye also announced that former Quanergy executive Akram Benmbarek has joined the executive team as VP of strategic initiatives. Benmbarek is responsible for responding to growing demand for AEye’s iDAR platform in industries ranging from transportation automation to industrial automation, IoT and mapping.
Benmbarek comes to AEye from Quanergy, where he was charged with growing the company’s application of LiDAR across non-automotive verticals, including robotics, IoT smart spaces and security. Prior to Quanergy, Akram spent 16 years in Silicon Valley as both an entrepreneur and investment banker. He has a BA in Applied Economics, and an MBA from USC.
“I am very excited to join such an experienced and focused team,” said Benmbarek. “There is real value in leveraging the unique software definable features of the iDAR platform to markets that require intelligent robotic vision, and I look forward to that charge.”
“While our near-term priorities are automotive ADAS and mobility, we have seen increasing interest in our iDAR platform from other industries and markets,” said Luis Dussan, co-founder and CEO of AEye. “Akram has deep experience commercializing LiDAR technology across different verticals, and he’ll be a great asset as he helps AEye’s customers do the same.”
2019 Sees Continued Success for Aeye
AEye’s iDAR Artificial Perception platform combines software extensibility, artificial intelligence and smart, agile sensors to deliver intelligent data collection at the sensor level. The company’s AE110 product features the industry’s only software-definable LiDAR, creating an open platform for perception innovation that allows software engineers to optimize data collection to best meet their needs. The AE200 system is designed to address the needs of modular, high-performance sensors, and is optimized for size, weight, power and cost. Both will be available commercially during the second half of this year.
AEye and iDAR have been increasingly recognized by technology, automotive and other industry organizations. In 2019 alone, AEye has been honored as “Best Up-and-Coming Company” by Image Sensors, “Outstanding Innovation in LiDAR” by ILMF and LiDAR Magazine, “Innovation Award for AI and Machine Learning” by SXSW and “ACES” award for Autonomy and Sensing by Autonomous Vehicle Technology. In addition, AEye was named to CB Insights AI 100 list as well as their Top Startups Revolutionizing Auto with AI for 2019.