On December 14th, HoloMatic held a launch event in Beijing to unveil a smart automated valet parking solution called HoloParking developed independently in house. It is the first smart parking solution for autonomous driving capable to operate around the clock and under all weather conditions, from vehicle drop-off to pick-up. HoloMatic will join force with partners over the “2020 Plan” to implement the HoloParking technology. Furthermore, HoloMatic announced that it has completed series A financing at tens of millions of USD recently.
Dr. Kai Ni, founder of HoloMatic, launches HoloParking
HoloMatic is dedicated to delivering an autonomous driving solution based on cutting-edge AI and automotive technologies. It is one of the very few companies in the industry with full-stack autonomous driving R&D capabilities. According to Dr. Kai Ni, founder of HoloMatic, the original intent to start the company is to implement the technology at an earlier date for the consumers to enjoy the benefits of autonomous driving. The newly launched HoloParking will apply the L4 autonomous driving technology in the parking scenario such that people will be freed from the pain of searching for parking spots.
Unlike the parking assist systems in the market, HoloParking does not require the vehicle to be driven next to the parking spot. The driver could get off the vehicle at the entrance of parking lot. The vehicle will then finds a parking spot and complete the parking maneuver on its own without human supervision. For pickup, the driver can start the system remotely, and the vehicle will automatically drive from the parking spot to the boarding area. Throughout this process, the driver does not need to enter the parking lot. Dr. Kai Ni believes that the value of the system lies in its ability to save time and efforts for drivers under all environments and at all time.
According to Dr. Kai Ni, compared to other parking solutions, HoloParking excels at being able to operate in a wide range of scenarios. Whether it’s a surrounding with inadequate lighting, a complex parking lot with mixed people and vehicles, and severe weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snowstorm, strong wind and heavy fog, HoloParking can function as usual, providing users with safe and reliable autonomous parking services.
Dr. Kai Ni stated that the autonomous parking system must be smart, robust and implementable. HoloParking realizes its functionalities from a unique combination of infrastructure, vehicle and HD maps.
He continued that a common practice in the industry is to take vehicles as the only platform to implement autonomous driving. However, solutions solely relying on the vehicle end at the current stage are not able to satisfy all three requirements - smart, robust, and implementable - at the same time. In the HoloParking system, HoloMatic introduces infrastructure and HD maps. Along with the vehicle end, they form a “three in one” solution. Having the three-end integration, HoloParking is more intelligent in perception, localization and planning. With sufficient layers of redundancy, the HoloParking system achieves a higher degree of robustness to be able to navigate complex road structures, severe weather conditions, and accidents. In addition, with the infrastructure support, the sensors and the computing platform on vehicles can be automotive-grade.
During the launch event, HoloMatic demonstrated HoloParking to the audience.
In the first demonstration, a staff member initiated the HoloParking service for vehicle drop-off via the mobile phone app about 100 meters away from the parking lot. While the vehicle automatically progressed to its destination, a pedestrian suddenly stepped into the driveway. The vehicle stopped promptly and waited for the pedestrian to be in the safe zone before completing parking. For vehicle pick-up, when the summoned vehicle perceived a parked vehicle in its planned route, it recalculated the route to by-pass the parked vehicle and arrive at the boarding area.
In the second demonstration, HoloParking system showcased that its intelligence and reliability under multi-car scenarios – three vehicles with HoloParking functionalities simultaneously received instructions, two for drop-off and one for pick-up. The vehicles successfully completed the entire process, even with a water cart nearby pumping water to imitate downpour in the path.
HoloMatic unveiled its plan for system implementation, the “2020 Plan”.
Dr. Kai Ni held that the commercialization of HoloParking will start with selected key cities and will gradually expand. HoloMatic will collaborate with industry partners, businesses and investors to form a smart parking alliance.
Starting from 2019, HoloMatic will be a critical player in the “Last Mile” pilot project with Shanghai International Automobile City. With the Automobile City as the center, the project will radiate over Shanghai Auto Museum and Shanghai Auto-Expo Park. HoloParking will be horning its technology in day-to-day operations.
By 2020, HoloParking will support over 20 cities, each with at least 20 parking lots. To this end, HoloMatic will collaborate with Easy Parking, a smart parking solution provider, to scale up the intelligence level of the parking lot infrastructure for HoloParking applications.
In terms of sensors, HoloMatic has formed a strategic partnership with Velodyne, a leading global LiDAR supplier. HoloMatic will enter Velodyne’s priority purchase program. The two will work along side to reduce the cost for the autonomous driving system. HoloMatic looks to realize an average cost of 2020 CNY for remodeling a single parking spot.
Dr. Kai Ni said that for all the plans to be materialized, capital support is indispensable. Recently, HoloMatic completed its series A financing at tens of millions of USD, with Sequoia Capital China as the lead investor. The sum will be used for stepping up the R&D input, extensive testing of HoloPilot (HoloMatic’s high-way autonomous driving solution), and implementing the HoloParking solution.