Untether AI, which describes itself as “the leader in at-memory computation for artificial intelligence inference acceleration,” has teamed up with General Motors to develop AI perception systems for autonomous vehicles.

Emphasizing that perception systems are integral to autonomous vehicles, Untether AI said it will collaborate with GM on demonstrating an AV perception system based on the company’s at-memory computation technology.

The project is receiving $1 million in funding from the provincial government’s Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN).

“Since taking office our government has created the right economic conditions to position Ontario as a hub for developing and building the vehicles of the future,” said Vic Fedeli, who is Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade, in a news release.

“With OVIN support, this collaboration is another example of how Ontario is fast-becoming the go-to jurisdiction for developing next-generation electric, connected and mobility technologies including artificial intelligence perception systems for autonomous vehicles,” Fedeli said.

Minister of transportation Caroline Mulroney said: “Our government understands that autonomous vehicle technology has the potential to make driving safer and more efficient.

“Along with the historic investments our government is making in building the vehicles of the future, we are proud to support the development of next-generation transportation technology that will transform the way we travel while furthering our position as a leader in the automotive technology space.”

Explaining more about the technology the companies are developing, Untether explained that AV perception systems use AI via neural networks to perceive a vehicle’s surrounding environment. The systems utilize a bevy of external inputs, like multiple video cameras, radar, ultrasound and lidar data.

Untether will use its at-memory compute technology to accelerate these neural networks. Meanwhile, GM will provide guidance and details on AV perception system requirements. The automaker is also offering access to the neural network technology used in Untether’s AV perception system.

“The project’s goal is to help increase autonomous vehicle performance by providing faster and more accurate vision response, reducing the power draw of various AV systems to increase battery life, and even helping to enable the downsizing of vehicle batteries,” Untether said in the release. “Additionally, this solution will aim to save on overall autonomous vehicle control system cost.”

Arun Iyengar, who is the chief executive officer of Untether AI, said: “This demonstration project with General Motors illuminates the future of AI-powered perception systems that will make autonomous vehicles a reality. We’re pleased and excited about the support we’ve gotten from OVIN and the government of Ontario, who are leading the way to nurture innovative technology efforts in Canada.”

GM Ventures, the automaker’s global venture capital arm, has been a strategic investor in Untether since 2018. Ted Graham is the principal of GM Ventures in Canada.

“GM is always looking for opportunities to collaborate with exciting new start-ups and support advanced technology development right here in Canada,” Graham said in a news release. “The technology developed by Untether AI has great potential to improve computing performance with low power consumption and at a lower cost, which are both priorities for the GM enterprise vision for an all-electric, connected, and autonomous future.”