US tech group to create Edinburgh research centre and add 40 jobs

A US tech company is creating almost 40 jobs as it expands its Edinburgh operations on the back of seven-figure funding from Scottish Enterprise.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 17:02 pm
Mark Hallan, director at Scottish Enterprise, said the decision 'has the potential to put Scotland at the centre of the fast-growing lidar technology industry'. Picture: Scottish Enterprise

North Carolina-headquartered Sense Photonics, which currently has a small research base in Edinburgh, is set to significantly enhance its presence in Scotland after the £1.9 million grant from the economic development agency.

Sense Photonics specialises in building the “next generation” of lidar – a surveying method that uses pulsed laser light – and 3D sensing systems for autonomous vehicles and robotic systems.

On the back of the grant, the group will open an advanced lidar research and development centre in Edinburgh, creating 38 high-value jobs and taking advantage of a “deep pool of talent” in the region. The facility will include laboratory and office space to centralise all elements of sensor research and development.

Founded in 2016, Sense Photonics aims to “usher in a new era” of advanced 3D imaging technology for automotive and industrial applications with its Flash Lidar system, which it claim delivers simple, modular, scalable and reliable 3D sensing.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It also enjoys a “positive” working relationship with the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Integrated Micro and Nano Systems.

The group last month closed a $26m (£20m) funding round co-led by Acadia Woods and Congruent Ventures.

Scott Burroughs, chief executive of Sense Photonics, said: “We are very excited to partner with Scottish Enterprise to build our advanced lidar research and development centre in Edinburgh.

“Working closely with the University of Edinburgh for the past year, we have already built one of the best advanced sensor development teams in the world, and we look forward to expanding rapidly with this new support.”

Mark Hallan, director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The decision by Sense Photonics to grow their presence in Edinburgh has the potential to put Scotland at the centre of the fast-growing lidar technology industry.

“Scotland is already home to the University of Edinburgh’s pioneering Institute of Integrated Micro and Nano Systems, so there is a real opportunity to develop an ecosystem of talent in this sector here.”

Scottish Government innovation minister Ivan McKee said the move by Sense Photonics “reflects Scotland’s long and distinguished history in the field of photonics, punching above its weight in a globally competitive market for over a century”.

He also stated: “This new base will add to Scotland’s existing billion-pound photonics sector, which supports 4,000 highly skilled jobs at a value added per employee that is three times the national average.”