XenomatiX is opening an office in Detroit to expand their presence in the North American market, and connect with partners and customers here in the United States. The new office was announced in the company’s recent newsletter, which also introduced Jacopo Alaimo, U.S. Sales Manager for XenomatiX. Alaimo spent 12 years in product development with Marelli and North American Lighting.
“It was a valuable experience to understand U.S. customer needs and priorities,” he said.
In 2012, three entrepreneurs with backgrounds optical metrology started XenomatiX in a garage in Leuven, Belgium. XenomatiX now occupies a two-floor building and calibration lab in the Research Park of Leuven, famous for its KU Leuven University and other companies like IMEC who XenomatiX is currently working with. That partnership is centered around an embedded deep learning-based platform to improve the interpretation of point clouds, and boost object detection and classification capabilities for automotive applications.
“We are at the level of application testing and will continue to work on performance improvement,” Alaimo explained. “One of the key advantages is the ability to train the network with daytime recordings for detection at nighttime – or the other way around. The higher data content of our LiDAR makes it possible to obtain better AI results with less data.”
XenomatiX has extended its LiDAR portfolio to two product families: XenoTrack and XenoLidar, as well as two software products, XenoWare and X-Ware. “We are increasing our investments on the software side,” Alaimo added.
XenomatiX has employees in Belgium, Germany, and China, and a distribution network in Asia through TOYO Corporation and JAT. The move into Detroit is a strategic one for XenomatiX, however, as the Motor City city is an ongoing epicenter for autonomous driving and ADAS technology. According to the Detroit Free Press, regulators are now considering modifying some of the current standards to make it easier for automakers to test their self-driving fleets.
“Detroit is quickly transforming and adapting to the future of mobility and autonomy,” Alaimo said. “The change is visible walking in the vibrating downtown and looking at the AD prototypes driving around.”
The Detroit office places XenomatiX within reach of their U.S. customers, especially those in Michigan. Communication with current and potential customers is easier based on the close proximity. For example, XenomatiX’s Detroit office is now in the same time zone as customers and partners in Michigan, meaning responses to e-mails and phone calls can be more immediate. And when social distancing guidelines are finally lifted, the location makes it easier to meet in person.
“Bringing a technology from prototype to mass production, and achieving the highest standard in product reliability and safety, requires constant exchange of information and alignment between OEM and suppliers,” Alaimo explained. “The Detroit sales office is just the first step in a road map that aims to add technical elements to the local team, and bridging the know-how with the innovation center in Belgium.”
XenomatiX Technology: An In-Depth Look
XenomatiX was among the first companies to offer true solid-state LiDAR sensors, based on a multi-beam laser and scalable semiconductor technology with no moving parts. XenoLidar currently provides a 6D input to the AI for object recognition: the traditional 4D LiDAR, with point position and intensity, plus the built-in 2D camera information. The LiDAR point cloud allows for object recognition in the range and frequency required by automotive applications, while adding camera information provides further context for object recognition and redundancy for safety, according to Alaimo.
“The XenomatiX team is working on leveraging this intrinsic sensor fusion to simplify the AI job, eliminating typical problems tied to parallax correction, output rate, and synchronization,” he said.
In the company’s October 2019 newsletter, XenomatiX announced that partial blockage of the grille by contamination does not create blind zones for XenoLidar. According to XenomatiX, the performance is tied to both the emitter and receiver technology. XenoLidar uses a multi-beam emitter, covering the full field of view, in one shot, with thousands of rays instead of building the scene slice-by-slice. Consequently, it is less sensitive to local disturbances according to XenomatiX.
“On the other hand, the receiver filters the signal, cleaning the disturbances coming from undesired reflected light,” Alaimo added. “These are some of the advantages of true solid-state technology.”
The Detroit Office & Beyond
XenomatiX will leverage their Detroit office to communicate with automotive customers in California as well. While the company is most famous for their automotive applications, LiDAR is utilized in a number of different industries. With the Detroit office, XenomatiX is in a more central location to serve those industries in the U.S.
“Our portfolio covers markets other than automotive, like road mapping and maintenance, agricultural, and transportation that are mostly active in the Midwest,” Alaimo said.