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An important step for autonomous driving

The start-up company NAVENTIK that emerged from the University received in the national start-up contest “Gründerwettbewerb – Digitale Innovationen” a main prize for software solution

Autonomous or high-automated driving vehicles are already developed today. But before integrating these vehicles into the road traffic there are a few technical hurdles that have to be conquered. The main hurdle are the complex and unclear environmental surroundings such as inner-city areas. To date, the available technologies are still severely restricted as the signal dispersion of navigation satellites is often disrupted and makes an exact and reliable positioning impossible. Especially in the safety-relevant context of autonomous or high-automated driving vehicles this is an impossible risk to take.

With their new PATHFINDER technology, the research team of the Professorship of Communications Engineering at the Chemnitz University of Technology developed a solution for the high-precision vehicle localization. The technology enables to depict the majority of the signal processing via software components. Those components can be put into practice following the automobile safety and quality standards and make the deep integration of satellite navigation into the environment-sensing system of the vehicles possible. “Aside from the signal processing of GPS and other navigation satellites, our technology can use further sensor data of the car to allow localization”, illustrates team member Peter Kalinowski. This way, the localization of the vehicle is possible even though the actual signal of the satellite might be disrupted or the satellite constellation is unfavorable for a measuring. The result: a high-precision localization that is due to its new modelling especially safety-relevant for the application in driver assistance systems and autonomous driving.

With this innovation the four-member team enters the market. Since April 2016, the team is supported by the funding program EXIST of the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy. Additionally, the NAVENTIK GmbH was founded in January 2017. “Especially manufacturers of driver assistance systems can implement functional safety concepts with our openly designed PATHFINDER technology, a significant requirement for the admission of future assistance functions in the public road traffic”, says director Robin Streiter.

The young start-up from Chemnitz convinced with its solution at the “Gründerwettbewerb – Digitale Innovationen” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), too. On March 21, 2017, the team was awarded one of the main prizes at the CeBIT. The main prize of 32,000 euros was awarded six times in Hannover. Additionally, the winning teams receive personalized coaching and mentoring and profit from a broad network of experts in the future. All in all, 769 participants with 306 innovative concept sketches submitted their ideas to the start-up contest.  “With the prize money we received an additional boost, as we are currently starting with the marketing of our prototype to automobile suppliers and manufacturers”, explains Kalinowski. The establishment of a technology like the PATHFINDER into the automotive industry is very cost-intensive. “Pending tasks such as patent registration, necessary certifications, and global sales activities have to be financed before the marketing of the technology can earn revenues”, says Kalinowski. That is why NAVENTIK is still looking for investors and cooperation partners.

With this achievement, NAVENTIK is continuing the number of successes for the Chemnitz University and the start-ups supervised by the entrepreneurial network SAXEED: “BASELABS, also a start-up emerging from the Professorship of Communications Engineering at the Chemnitz University, won in the national start-up contest a main prize, in 2012”, illustrates Prof. Uwe Götze, Vice President for Transfer and Academic Qualification of the Chemnitz University. In the same year, the by SAXEED supervised team Kinematiks in Freiberg won a main prize and in 2014, the Zwickau project InnoStruct3D won a special prize. “SAXEED director Markus Braun was always an outstanding sparring partner and our mentor Prof. Gerd Wanielik always assisted with help and advice”, Streiter adds. That is why the founders are still and will be keeping close contact to the university.

Further information is available from Peter Kalinowski, phone +49 371 531 30555, email peter.kalinowski@etit.tu-chemnitz.de

Key Word: “Gründerwettbewerb – Digitale Innovationen”

The start-up contest „Gründerwettbewerb – Digitale Innovationen“ is a competition for ideas by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, that takes place in two phases. In the first phase, everyone interested in founding a start-up and IKT-start-ups can apply for the contest with a short concept sketch. All participants receive written feedback on their start-up idea regarding strengths, weaknesses, chances, and risks. The Top 50 of phase one can integrate the feedback into their concept in phase 2. Eventually, up to six start-up ideas are awarded the main prize of respectively 32,000 euros. Additionally, further fifteen start-up ideas will be awarded with 7,000 euros. Two contest rounds take place annually. The first phase of the current contest round 1/2017 ends on March 31, 2017. The next application phase starts in July 2017. Further information are available from www.gruenderwettbewerb.de

Matthias Fejes
27.03.2017

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