Late last week an announcement was made saying that BMW through its i Ventures branch together with Toyota and Allianz Ventures signed a strategic agreement with Nauto. While at first it may seem like an ordinary investment by BMW, this agreement says more than meets the eye at first.

That’s because Nauto is a company focused on gathering driving data from its drivers. The way it works is pretty straightforward – the company is fitting cars around the world with an in-vehicle camera and sensor hardware. Working together with a smart network and a continuous learning cloud, the company is able to learn a lot about driving patterns and how we tend to behave behind the wheel. Such info could prove essential on the long run for companies wanting to offer autonomous vehicles on a large scale.

Thus, BMW through its i Ventures division decided to invest in Nauto alongside its older partner, Toyota. Under the agreements, Nauto and its auto and insurance industry partners will license data and technologies, including Nauto’s artificial intelligence-powered vehicle network. This way, the companies will better understand both how excellent drivers handle vehicles in real urban conditions as well as the combinations of errors, distraction, and challenging circumstances that lead to crashes.

“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,” said Ulrich Quay, Head of BMW i Ventures. “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,” added Gill Pratt, CEO Toyota Research Institute.

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.