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Honda Invests in Canesta

September 21, 2006

Electronic perception technology is seen as an attractive alternative to RADAR, stereo vision, and other complex approaches for next-generation automotive safety systems.


SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA -Canesta, a pioneer and leader in electronic perception technology, announced that Honda Motor Co., Ltd., has made multiple investments in Canesta over the past 3 years, for more than $5 million in total, to assist the company in its development of new automotive safety applications based on its breakthrough technology.

"Honda is committed to the development and application of new technologies that can lead to driver support and safety improvements in all classes of vehicles," said Toshinori Arita, head of Honda Strategic Venturing, a corporate venture arm of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "Among the leading-edge technologies, one of the most interesting is the family of low-cost, 3D sensors pioneered by Canesta, that could help us provide advanced safety systems in our vehicles."

According to Arita, Canesta's tiny sensors, which can easily be concealed in the bodywork, trim, or cockpit of consumer vehicles, may provide an attractive alternative to other techniques being researched, such as ultrasonics, lidar, or stereoscopic imaging, for a wide variety of systems, including occupant sensing, parking assistance, pedestrian detection, and collision avoidance. "It provides a comparatively low-cost, chip-based 3D 'camera' that could serve multiple applications from a single installation," added Arita.

Canesta's sensors act like camera chips, but instead of seeing their surroundings in terms of light and darkness, and a palette of colors, the devices continuously sense the distance to nearby objects—in any ambient light condition—and provide a stream of 3D image data that can be further interpreted by the vehicle. Having true 3D image information can dramatically simplify certain types of applications where the vehicle needs to understand what's going on around it, and the systems needed to support these applications. By allowing a car to "see", in effect, can add a "sensing bubble" around the vehicle that can significantly enhance safety.

"Honda is one of the great companies in the world, with innovative research, superb execution, and a strong commitment to safety," said Jim Spare, Canesta's president. "We are excited that Honda has recognized our technology in this way, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of applications."

Canesta's electronic perception technology has been in development for more than six years and is covered by more than 17 patents.

About Canesta
Canesta is the inventor of a revolutionary, low-cost electronic perception technology that enables machines, vehicles, and ordinary electronic devices to perceive and react to objects or individuals in real time. When sight-enabled with Canesta's unique CanestaVision electronic perception chips and software, consumer, automotive, industrial, military, and medical products can gain functionality and ease of use not possible in an era when such devices were blind.

Canesta believes applications of electronic perception technology are virtually as broad as the imagination. They may include intelligent automobile airbag systems that can sense the size and position of an occupant to control deployment and avoid injury; a low-false-alarm security system that could detect the difference between an intruder and normal activity, such as a pet moving or child visiting the bathroom at night; or robotic tools that can successfully operate in a dynamic rather than static environment.

Canesta was founded in April 1999 and is located in San Jose, CA. The company has filed in excess of 40 patents, 17 of which have been granted so far. Investment to date exceeds $44 million, from Carlyle Venture Partners, JP Morgan Partners, Korea Global IT Fund, Venrock Associates, and others.

All trademarks and registered trademarks are those of their respective companies. Additional background information is available on the Web.


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