Apex.AI, a company developing safety-certified software for mobility and autonomous applications, has raised US$56.5m in Series B funding, giving it a total of US$74m raised to date. The Series B round was led by Orillion, with participation from several automotive industry heavy hitters including ZF, Continental and Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion, adding to previous funding from Volvo’s, Toyota’s and Hella’s investment arms.
Apex.AI says it will use the funds to scale the business and expand into markets adjacent to the automotive industry, including agriculture, mining, industrial automation and Internet of Things (IoT).
The company has developed the meta-operating system Apex.OS from the widely used open-source code ROS (Robot Operating System) programming framework. It is claimed to be the first system of its kind for automotive applications that supports all phases of software development and use without the need for time-consuming customization, from the concept phase to pre-development and production use. Significantly, it has already been certified by TÜV Nord, meaning that the software system is approved for series use on the road.
“Disruptions in mobility such as self-driving, connected vehicles, e-mobility and shared mobility all rely on software but lack a unified platform, which prevents integrated development across the vehicle,” said Jan Becker, Apex.AI’s CEO and co-founder. “We introduced Apex.OS as the first mobility software platform that can integrate across all in-vehicle domains and extend into the cloud to solve this challenge. We are experiencing an overwhelming demand for our product and will use the Series B funds to scale our business to be able to serve more customers.”
Of the latest automotive sector investors, ZF – which acquired a 5% stake – intends to strengthen its automotive software business and develop software solutions based on the Apex.OS meta-operating system. “Based on the Apex.OS, we can offer our customers an additional ZF middleware option,” said Nico Hartmann, head of the ZF Global Software Center. “This solution is certified to the highest standards of functional safety for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Thus, we offer our customers an alternative to Autosar Adaptive.”
Frank Petznick, head of the advanced driver assistance systems business unit at Continental – which did not disclose the size of its investment – added, “With Apex.AI, we have a strong cooperation partner at our side to meet the major challenges of autonomous driving with innovative software solutions. The complexity of vehicle software and electronics architectures is increasing rapidly, and the number of digital functionalities is rising. The automobile is indeed becoming more and more like a smartphone on wheels, where the development of hardware and software is increasingly independent of each other and significantly accelerated. With the help of the already certified meta-operating system Apex.OS, we will significantly shorten the development cycles of new mobility functions, especially for automated and autonomous driving, in line with the highest safety standards. Our investment in Apex.AI is an important step into the future.”