BMW, Toyota and Allianz Join Hands with Autonomous Startup Nauto

In recent years, modernity and innovation within the automobile sector has been mounted at a large scale with an aim to make the vehicles more safer, efficient, dynamic and affordable as well. Among the list of technology, autonomous driving is one supreme thing that all the automakers are eyeing for. With this technology, the mobility will become more easier as well as crashes will also be reduced. Keeping the same in mind, now the automobile giants BMW and Toyota altogether with insurance company Allianz have entered into a strategic agreement with Silicon Valley based tech startup, Nauto.

Instituted in 2015 by Chief Executive Stefan Heck and CTO Frederick Soo, Nauto is a technology startup that engrain cameras, GPS systems and motion sensors along with artificial intelligence system in vehicles to better understand driver behaviour as well as to detect others that happening on the road. According to the deal, the automobile firms and Allianz will license technology from this startup with a view to design autonomous driving technologies for their upcoming cars.    

Speaking about the deal, Stefan Heck, Chief Executive Officer, Nauto said, “the carmakers and insurer will integrate the technology into their test vehicles and use the aggregate and anonymized data - whether on driving habits, difficult intersections, or traffic congestion - to help develop their autonomous vehicle strategies.”  

The investment that was led by BMWi Ventures, Toyota Research Institute and Allianz Ventures in Nauto’s series A round is basically the result of higher demand of smart autonomous system across the global market. Both the investors and startup have kept their lips bound and not revealed any terms of the deal as well as the amount of funding. However, each companies will have an equity stake in Nauto, said by startup. Besides, Nauto has also mentioned about the investment of an unspecified automaker in this deal, which will also have an equity stake in the company.   

Talking about the Nauto’s system which is currently employed by commercial fleet customers like Citywide Taxi of San Francisco, uses a windshield connected device including a small camera, a computer based vision system and its own artificial intelligence technology. The system virtually fetches and processes the data in order to improve driver’s behaviour. Moreover, it prevents them for texturing while driving as well as can detect the behaviour like drunk driving hence notifies the driver to refrain from doing unwanted activities.

“People are familiar with follow the lanes, don’t hit the car in front of you and you will mostly stay out of trouble… But that doesn’t work in downtown San Francisco, or New York, with lots of people, traffic and parked cars,” Heck said. “We’re building and using a data set to help OEMs and other partners develop the next generation of autonomous capability for vehicles in urban areas.”

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