There are only a handful of companies in the world that work with lidar outside of automotive, a technology based on measuring very precise distances using invisible light. No other existing technology can even come close to lidar in terms of precision when it comes to surveillance of very large areas. It can be compared to smart video, but you have a third dimension as well.
Lidar can measure up to five million points per second. It generates a huge amount of data that must be compressed in order for other systems to understand and interpret what is happening. These are the systems that Flasheye develops in Luleå and that are in demand by customers in very different areas, all over the world.
Making society safer
Why are these complex systems needed, when there are already surveillance cameras and radars, for example?
“The answer is simple. To make society, industry and workplaces a little safer with the help of even better technology than what is available today. What we work with has been used in the defence industry in the past, but we make the technology available commercially. The technology is the same as what is developed for controlling self-driving vehicles, for example. For the fixed installations that we focus on, in industry to measure productivity for example, we are the only supplier in Sweden and one of the few in the world”, says Ulf Lindström, CEO and founder of Flasheye.
Ulf takes cars as an example to explain the technology.
“In today’s modern cars, there is a lot of built-in technology, including sensors and assistance systems that facilitate driver decisions. Car manufacturers want to constantly refine and improve this in order to achieve even higher safety. According to a global leading car manufacturer, there will soon be vehicles that you simply cannot collide with. The same development is now taking place in other areas, in industry, healthcare, sports and so on. The aim is to integrate more autonomous processes, and the enabler for that development is the so-called machine vision system that we are developing. The world needs this technology to make society safer and improve the lives of more people”.
Technology that changes the world
Flasheye does not work with cars, but uses the same principle in other segments to monitor processes, high-security objects, infrastructure and so on. It is within this type of fixed installations that Flasheye operates, and this is also where the greatest development potential lies.
“The technology we develop can be applied basically everywhere where it can be useful. Some examples are in the development of smart cities, defence, real estate, sporting events and even in agriculture to make it more efficient. Our existing application areas and where our customers are operating are in the mining industry, paper and pulp industry, and the process industry. Of course, we have plans to develop more business areas and broaden our customer base”, explains Ida Rehnström, COO at Flasheye.
Thanks to strong global demand, Flasheye has quickly scaled up from three to over 20 specialists, both full-time employees and consultants. Most of them are young, some straight out of university, and that is not surprising since the technology itself is new.
Right now, Flasheye focuses mostly on lidar systems, but there are plans to develop a new business area based on other technologies generating 3D-data, such as heat sensors for example. That is why they are looking for additional competence in that area, and Flasheye is looking for that competence globally.
“We have had no difficulty in attracting talent so far, both top graduates and PhD students. What we develop is just right at this time, everything we work with is based on brand new technology that will change the world. There are many people who want to be part of that journey, and we expect to be able to recruit between five and ten new employees this fall”, says Ida.
Customers choose Flasheye because the systems are both robust and complex, but easy to install and use. Norrbotten has done it again, left its mark on the world and created ground-breaking technology that takes us into the future in a safer and more sustainable way.