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Finnish tech Sensible 4 grabs €8M to prepare autonomous vehicles for harsh weather conditions

Image credits: Sensible 4

Finnish autonomous driving tech startup Sensible 4 has grabbed €8 million loan granted by European Investment Bank (EIB) that recently backed IQM. This loan is a part of the European Guarantee Fund’s venture debt product that provides liquidity to small and medium-sized companies that are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loan from EIB

The EIB financing will enable Sensible 4 to accelerate R&D expenditures related to the technology, as well as product development, following a period where its growth was hampered because of the pandemic. The company expects to reach the commercial stage soon and become a leading provider for the automotive sector in Europe and Asia.

“We are excited that the EIB sees the potential in our technology and is financing us in this early stage. The money has helped us finalise our baseline product and will now help us continue to pre-production with our non-exclusive partners, targeting mass-production,” said Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4. The first Sensible 4 product is ready for pre-production.

According to EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, “The automotive industry, including autonomous driving, is going through a radical transformation revolution with a high potential to reduce the carbon footprint from transport. Our financing for Sensible 4, a leader in addressing the widely recognised problem of autonomous operations in bad weather conditions, shows the EIB’s commitment to supporting European innovation leaders and more sustainable transport methods.”

Sensible 4
Image credits: Sensible 4

Autonomous driving software

Sensible 4 was founded in 2017 by Harri Santamala, Jari Saarinen, Jussi Suomela, and Tommi Rimpilainen in Espoo, Finland. It was founded as a spin-off of Aalto University and builds on over 30 years of research and development experience in the robotics and autonomous driving technologies sector.

The self-driving tech company has developed software that will resolve a major obstacle faced by autonomous vehicles, which is varying weather conditions. It develops SAE Level 4 full-stack autonomous driving software that can turn any vehicle into an autonomous vehicle. Its unique technology combines software and information from various different sensors, thereby letting vehicles operate in all weather conditions, be it fog, heavy rain or snowfall.

Autonomous driving contributes to sustainable transport, reducing the number of traffic accidents and carbon dioxide and polluting emissions and provides a solution to the shortage of public transport and logistics drivers in Europe. Having said that, Sensible 4 offers a complete and flexible autonomous driving software that lets both self-driving and assisted driving vehicles tackle harsh weather conditions and operate safely despite the absence of well-marked lanes.

Discussing the challenges Sensible 4 wants to tackle, Santamala added: “On top of how shared, autonomous and electric transport is a sustainable option, self-driving vehicles also bring a solution to the acute driver shortage in Europe. Expanding public transport and increasing logistics would require even more drivers, and a self-driving fleet with remote operations is a great way to solve that problem.”

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