According to a recent news report, Nauto has grabbed an investment of $159 million Series B from General Motors and Japan’s Softbank Group. Nauto, is the startup that is into making software and cameras aimed to make autonomous vehicles all the more safer. Currently the company creates advanced bi-dirctional Dashcams that points both at the driver and at the road. Loaded with multiple sensors and intelligent algorithms, the camera can precisely detect risky maneuvering, tailgating, driver behavior & distraction in real time. If these cameras are used in fleets, all the footage’s ( or atleast the most risky ones ) are automatically uploaded to the fleet dashboard for examination and future use. All this is achieved by the contextual event analysis algorithms Nauto uses to study the driver performance using next gen computer vision.
Added to the above excellent safety features, Nauto also provides facial recognition features that clearly records who is driving the vehicle and for how long ( this can be of importance to vehicle rental companies that would need to maintain a time-sheet of driver performance ). The devices are also fitted with intelligent modules that can accurately calculate and tag a score against each driver to measure his contribution and performance ( along with a real-time map showing where the vehicle is right now ). Apart from helping companies effectively manage their drivers and fleets, the most lucrative feature provided is the ability for companies to cut cost on insurance claims whenever an accident happens. The intelligent cameras track all required data during a collision like location, speed, date/time, impact, direction etc. and uploads to the dashboard which can be used for speedy insurance claims.
After gaining investments from prominent automakers like BMW AG, Toyota Co and German insurance company Allianz – Nauto has now signed deals with 2 more companies. This funding round was led by Softbank and Greylock Partners. Also involved were earlier investors: Playground Global and Draper Nexus.
Note: Every company involved in this investment have significant interest in the upcoming Driver-less era and related tech. For example, Softbank acquired ARM for a whooping $32 Billion ( ARM primarily is focused on developing chips for Autonomous cars ). GM is on a shopping spree for Self-Driving tech companies. It bought CRUISE for a Billion dollars and has made a $500 Million investment in Lyft. So imagine the amount of value these companies will bring to the table for Nauto ( apart from the money itself )
Nauto has raised these impressive investments by ensuring cost effectiveness with its focus on software and data that will be way less than the hardware costs. According to Stefan hack(Founder and CEO), “Nauto is only focusing on developing software for autonomous cars. Building cars is good for big car manufacturing companies“. As he said- “Our aim is to provide the data, intelligence and a cloud platform to automakers that plan to begin putting self-driving cars on the road from 2020.”
As mentioned earlier, they will be primarily replacing the traditional side mirrors with bi-directional cameras. According to stats, 1 in every 4 accidents is caused due to driver impairment from cell phone use. One of the cameras therefore, will capture data from driver’s distraction and the other will gather from the vehicles around. The cars should be able to capture human driving tendencies as they need to cope up with the humans driving alongside until 20-30 years from now.
“In pursuit of the profoundly transformational impact autonomous vehicle technology can have on business and society, we’ll now more rapidly be able to gather the billions more miles of real driving experience and data required to get a precise understanding of how the best drivers behave behind the wheel” Nauto CEO Stefan Heck said. Nauto wants to develop a network between the vehicles and drivers and moreover replace the human driver era with autonomous driving era.
Every company is eyeing the upcoming technology in autonomous driving, it’s no more a one man’s dream. Every company is taking steps to build autonomous cars by collaborating with various other companies.
Let us see after this deal, how many more startups come forward and make a mark!