Vancouver-based Inverted AI has closed over $5.3 million CAD ($4 million USD) in seed funding as it looks to develop AI technology for realistically simulating human drivers on roadways.
The seed round was led by Yaletown Partners, with participation from Blue Titan Ventures, Dasein Capital, Inovia Capital, Defined, and WUTIF. The startup’s last raise was a $1.4-million funding round closed in November 2021, led by Blue Titan Ventures with participation from Yaletown, Dasein, and former CEO of PMC-Sierra Colin Harris.
“The opportunity of generative AI to advance adaptive systems … in our view, is one of the great thematic changes underway.”Eric Bukovinsky
Inverted AI develops generative AI solutions for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles (AVs). The startup builds AI agents or non-playable characters that mimic human behaviour, which are then incorporated into simulated environments. The startup hopes its simulation technology will be used to ensure driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles are safe and effective when deployed in the real world.
The startup’s products currently include “Drive,” an API that offers realistic and reactive human-like NPC driving behaviours to help developers rigorously test their ADAS and AV systems in a virtual world, and “Initialize,” which offers realistic and diverse agent placements within simulated environments for comprehensive testing scenarios.
“Inverted AI’s predictive human behavioural models are designed to bring the most realistic behaviour to simulation based on massive quantities of video data, that result in simulations with reactive, diverse, and realistic NPCs across vehicle classes and pedestrians,” said Frank Wood, CEO of Inverted AI.
The startup was founded by Wood—who is also an associate professor of computer science at the University of British Columbia and a Canada CIFAR AI Chair at Mila— as well as CTO Adam Ścibior.
Inverted AI is beta testing two new products: “Blame,” a tool that pinpoints the causative agents and reasons behind simulated collisions, and “Scenario,” which generates entire autonomous systems testing scenes, populated with realistic simulations of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, and traffic lights.
Inverted AI is not the only startup developing AI technologies for advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous vehicles. One other such firm is Pony.AI, which is working on AI to help cars manage complex city driving scenarios. One of the best-known autonomous vehicle startups in Canada is Waabi, which is led by former chief scientist at Uber ATG Raquel Urtasun.
In September, Waabi bundled its core technology, Waabi Driver, with Uber Freight’s logistics platform, marketplace, and autonomous trucking operations. Waabi and Uber Freight aim to provide shippers and carriers with the infrastructure to deploy and manage autonomous trucks.
“The opportunity of generative AI to advance adaptive systems and accelerate the convergence of simulation and real-world applications, in our view, is one of the great thematic changes underway,” Eric Bukovinsky, partner at Yaletown Partners, said in a statement.
Feature image source Unsplash. Photo by Denys Nevozhai.