Toyota, BMW and insurer Allianz will license technology from Silicon Valley start-up Nauto, which uses cameras and artificial intelligence systems in cars to understand driver behavior. Nauto Chief Executive Stefan Heck told Reuters 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.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the parties will each have an equity stake in Nauto. BMW is represented by its venture arm – BMW i Ventures. Another automaker has participated in the funding round, but it has remained unnamed.
Nauto’s current system, used by commercial fleet customers such as San Francisco’s Citywide Taxi, uses a $400 device attached to the windshield comprising a small camera and computer-based vision system with machine learning to collect and process data. The system can detect behavior such as drinking or texting, and warn drivers not to do certain behaviors. The system helps insurers to assess risk, prevent fraud and reward good drivers.
In the future, the Silicon Valley company aims to integrate its software directly into the car’s computer, with data being shared and analyzed on the cloud.
The company received a $12 million Series A round of funding in April.
Nauto says that other automakers are allowed to built their own applications on top of Nauto’s software stack.