Lunewave, a maker of “eyes” for self-driving cars, raises $5M in seed funding

A maker of “eyes” for autonomous vehicles is getting fuel to bring its vision to reality. Lunewave, a startup with presence in Boston that is building new sensors to power autonomous vehicles and 5G wireless networks, announced that it has raised $5 million in seed funding to develop radar and antenna technologies for self-driving cars.

Fraser McCombs Capital, a venture capital firm with offices in Texas and Colorado that invests in automotive companies, led the round of financing. As part of the announcement, Mark Norman, managing partner at FMC, will join Lunewave’s board of directors.

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Participating investors include Mountain View-based BMW i Ventures, which also invested in 3-D printing local startup Desktop Metal last year, and Baidu Ventures, an independent venture fund established by Baidu in 2017 with a special focus on artificial intelligence technology.

Founded in 2017 by John Xin, Hao Xin, Sherry Byon and Min Liang, Lunewave manufactures 3-D printed Lüneburg lens antennae and radar sensors that can act as the “eyes” of self-driving cars.

Thanks to their special spherical design, Lüneburg lenses (named after mathematics professor Rudolf Lüneburg) effectively read distances by channeling electromagnetic wave. Also, they can detect objects surrounding cars at long range and in poor weather conditions—capabilities that usually require a batch of sensors. For automakers, replacing multiple sensors with a single one may accelerate the deployment of autonomous cars as a low-cost alternative.

Lunewave has a total of 10 employees; three of them, including CEO and co-founder John Xin, are based out of the Wellesley, Mass. office and focus on business support functions. The rest is split between the company’s offices in Tucson, Ariz. and Sunnyvale, Calif.

We are very grateful for the immense support from top tier investors and high-profile strategic partners,” John Xin said in a statement. “FMC and others bring deep experience across the global automotive and technology industry and we are looking forward to hiring top talent and accelerating development to meet demand from customers.

The company has raised a total of $5.5 million to date.