Volvo Cars (Volvo) has invested in Spectralics, an optical and imaging technology start-up. Volvo invested through the company’s venture capital arm, Volvo Cars Tech Fund. By working with Spectralics, Volvo has early access to a promising technology that may enhance vehicle safety and transform the in-car experience.
Spectralics, based out of Israel, specializes in both hardware and software optical solutions. With a history of aerospace tech development, Spectralics makes advanced imaging materials and technologies to enhance optical capabilities.
Spectralics’ flagship product is a multi-layered thin combiner (MLTC). The MLTC is a see-through film that overlays images when applied to solid surfaces such as glass.
When used on a car’s windshield, Spectralics says their MLTC would enable a wider head-up display and what the company calls “infinite focal depth.” With this combination, Volvo could power an immersive augmented reality experience for both drivers and passengers.
According to Lee Ma, head of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the partnership is a good match for both companies. “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,” Ma said.
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Volvo is also reportedly considering using the technology in such applications as digital holographic projects, in-cabin sensors, and advanced front-looking cameras.
According to Ran Bar-Yosef, Spectralics’ co-founder and chief executive officer, Volvo is well-suited for its products. “We are proud to partner with a progressive technology leader like Volvo Cars,” Bar-Yosef said. “We identify multiple touch-points with Volvo Cars’ vision in the ecosystem and recognize future Volvos as the right fit for new technologies.”
Spectralics’ relationship with Volvo Cars originated in the MobilityXlab program in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Group is a program partner, and Spectralics is an alumnus.
Launched in 2018, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund invests in early-stage technology companies around the world. Other investments to date include Varjo, maker of advanced VR devices, and Luminar, who develops and manufactures LiDAR-based sensors.