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Autonomous vehicle tech company Nauto enters strategic relationships with 3 automakers, including BMW and Toyota, and Allianz

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto has entered into strategic agreements with three major auto companies, including BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute, as well as with Allianz Ventures, part of the leading global financial service provider and insurance company Allianz Group.

These companies have invested in Nauto and are working with the company on autonomous vehicle development using the Nauto cloud-based data learning platform. Nauto’s deep-learning technology also runs on retrofit devices that can be mounted in any vehicle.

At Nauto’s core is a perpetually learning artificial intelligence system which uses computer vision, GPS, vehicle sensors and data from its smart cloud to give a full, contextual and accurate picture and provide insights into driver behavior.

The Nauto system—an in-vehicle camera and sensor hardware, a smart network and a continuous learning cloud—allows any vehicle, human-driven or autonomous, to be retrofit with innovative safety and networking technology.

Nauto in-vehicle system block diagram from 2015 Nauto presentation.

Nauto can detect potential driver distraction inside the car, as well as safety issues outside the vehicle. The system automatically uploads and tags road conditions and incidents that matter (drivers don’t need to manually input data) and alerts fleet managers to accidents, near-misses or major driving performance issues.

Under the agreements, Nauto and its auto and insurance industry partners will license data and technologies, including Nauto’s artificial intelligence-powered vehicle network. As more and more vehicles deploy Nauto, its connected car network will be populated with greater volumes of precise information on how drivers and vehicles behave and perform.

The agreements will enable Nauto to grow its artificial intelligence-powered deep-learning network and to accelerate deployment into shared vehicle fleets and eventually migrate from retrofit device into new production vehicles.

We were impressed by Nauto’s comprehensive approach to improving urban mobility and are excited to be part of further developing its future. BMW will benefit from insights gained from Nauto’s continuous learning network as part of our autonomous development efforts

—Ulrich Quay, Head of BMW i Ventures

What Nauto is developing is very much aligned with Toyota Research Institute’s own commitment to developing safe, reliable mobility systems. Our relationship with Nauto and its team will accelerate what we are doing with deep learning systems and inform ways we can serve as a guardian for human drivers during a period of technology-driven change in transportation and mobility overall.

—Gill Pratt, CEO Toyota Research Institute

In addition, Nauto is working with the insurance industry to provide insights that help insurers offer enhanced services and build long-lasting customer relationships. Insurers get a more precise view of each and every driver that can help personalize coverage, deliver precision risk assessments, reduce fraudulent claims and provide enhanced urban mobility services for commercial fleets.

Nauto’s artificial intelligence platform drives deep learning that goes beyond the basics of recorded events by capturing driver behavior, inside-the-vehicle activity and correlations from road, weather and traffic conditions. Nauto can not only rate drivers, but also detect patterns of near-misses and dangerous circumstances to coach and proactively warn drivers before accidents happen.

Nauto was co-founded in 2015 by CEO Stefan Heck, Ph.D., a Stanford Consulting Professor and former McKinsey & Company senior partner, and CTO Frederick Soo Ph.D., a neuroscientist-turned hardware engineer and entrepreneur. Nauto’s backers include Playground Global, Draper Nexus and Index Ventures.

Nauto-equipped vehicles began gathering and learning street and driving patterns in more than 24 cities around the world, from Bangalore and Vienna to Mexico City and Boston, and are now in commercial deployments in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.


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