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Kudan to develop RGB-D SLAM for smartphones using Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ ToF sensors

11.18.2019

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Kudan to develop RGB-D SLAM for smartphones using Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ ToF sensors

〜Collaboration planned to provide SLAM-related solutions using ToF technology, expected to be implemented as standard in future mobile phones and whose applications are anticipated to expand rapidly in the sphere of robotics〜

 

Kudan Inc. (headquarters in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; Managing Director Tomo Ohno) is pleased to announce the establishment of a cooperative agreement with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (headquarters in Atsugi City, Kanagawa Prefecture; President and CEO Terushi Shimizu) and its subsidiary, Sony Depthsensing Solutions SA/NV (headquarters in Brussels, Belgium; CEO Daniel Van Nieuwenhove), for the development and provision of RGB-D SLAM solutions tailored for smartphone use combining depth data provided by ToF (time-of-flight) sensors and image data provided by cameras.

 

ToF sensors use the time delay between the emission of light from its source and the return of that light as a reflection to measure the distance between the light source and a target object. The self-localizing and map creation technology known as SLAM* generally uses visual camera data as the basis for its processing, but reliance entirely on visual characteristics is known to impose limitations on its accuracy in terms of initialization and scale indeterminacy issues for the motion stereo method.

 

Not only does the integration of ToF sensors into SLAM technology allow for the solution of these issues, it also simplifies the implementation of extremely complex initial settings and enables stable operation and a high degree of accuracy. This will in turn make possible the incorporation of the technology in a wide range of mobile AR applications through the use of ToF sensors, which are expected to become standard features of smartphones in the future. In addition, integration with SLAM will allow ToF sensors to produce extremely dense depth data, which can be effectively used to create high-accuracy occlusion effects and multi-functional AR cloud technology. To this end, we have already achieved the processing speeds required for the practical implementation of the technology in mobile AR applications.

 

Until now, Kudan has developed SLAM solutions using depth data derived from LiDARs for such practical applications as autonomous driving, but due to the fact that LiDAR instruments, by their very nature, are expensive, heavy, and inefficient in terms of energy consumption, their implementation in generic devices has been restricted primarily to AGVs. With the use of ToF sensors, however, it is anticipated that the same technology will be able to be provided in a single compatible format for a wide range of commonly-used compact devices, such as smartphones, AGVs and drones.

 

It is expected that this collaboratively developed product will not only allow the provision of brand new experiences for consumers using mobile AR and VR applications, but will also enable the low-cost, broad implementation of highly complex solutions in the field of robotics by facilitating increased navigation accuracy, automatization, and coordination between robots. Kudan aims to make its SLAM technology known and understood as the de facto standard for implementation in all ToF sensor-mounted devices.

 

*SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) is a technology which simultaneously self-locates and creates maps of the surrounding environment. In addition to standard cameras, Kudan owns SLAM technology utilizing ToF sensors, IMUs and LiDARs, and is independently developing high-speed, high-precision hybrid SLAM technology combining input from all of these sources.

 

About Kudan Inc.

 

Kudan (Tokyo Stock Exchange securities code: 4425) is a deep tech research and development company specializing in algorithms controlling artificial perception (AP), a technology which provides machines (computers and robots) with the equivalent of human “eyes.” As a complement to artificial intelligence (AI), AP functions as a deep tech which allows machines to develop autonomy. Currently, Kudan is using its high-level technical innovation to explore business areas based on its own milestone models established for deep tech which provide wide-ranging impact on several major industrial fields. In addition to the independently-developed AP technology it has produced, Kudan is also conducting R&D in the fields of machine perception, deep perception and neural perception networks, with an eye to the integration of its technology with artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).

For more information, please refer to Kudan’s website at https://www.kudan.io/.


■Company details

Name: Kudan Inc.

Securities code: 4425

Representative: Managing Director Tomo Ohno

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