BMW Bets Big in Optical AI Startup
BMW’s venture capital arm, BMW i Ventures, announced its investment in Alitheon, an optical AI software creator and deep-tech startup company. With the infusion of funding from BMW, the startup hopes to expand its FeaturePrint technology in the automotive sector and beyond.
What got BMW interested in the Alitheon FeaturePrint is the tech’s ability to transform how objects, components and finished products are authenticated, tracked and traced across supply chains and distribution systems throughout the world.
Once an item is registered by Alitheon's optical artificial intelligence system, its authenticity can be easily verified using Alitheon’s equipment. Any inquiring individual may then confirm an item’s place and time of origin. The system may also supply key pieces of information such as signs of tampering and level of wear, as well as identify grey market and counterfeit products including unauthorized "over runs" and previously rejected products.
"Alitheon's ability to identify an item using only the object itself—independent of markings, tags or other modifications—is groundbreaking," said Marcus Behrendt, Partner, BMW i Ventures. "FeaturePrint technology has the potential to bring a new level of trust to supply chains that does not currently exist."
“A FeaturePrint registration or authentication can be performed in milliseconds at industrial production speeds without human involvement using off-the-shelf hardware integrated at any step throughout manufacturing and distribution," said Scot E. Land, Alitheon's CEO and co-founder. "Our mission is straightforward: to create enduring trust among manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and customers."
BMW is counting on Alitheon’s founders having three decades worth of experience developing expert and AI systems for identifying product tampering, counterfeiting and security threats. Among the Alitheon founders’ more noteworthy accomplishments include helping create the first machine vision-based explosives detection systems and developing fraud detection systems, satellite image analysis software and other mission-critical automated systems for governments, corporations and non-profits worldwide.
Alitheon has 34 issued patents with many more pending, and counts IPD Capital, Shasta Ventures, Accenture, Boeing and Fidelity among its list of investors. So far, the company has managed to secure a USD 14.9 million (approx. PHP 756 million) capital from investments.
Alitheon is also looking to expand FeaturePrint into the defense, aerospace, aviation services, semiconductor, luxury goods, additive manufacturing, pharmaceutical and government sectors.