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Autonomous vehicle technology firm Nauto raises $159m financing

Published 20 July 2017

Self-driving vehicle technology developer Nauto has closed a $159m series B financing round for its growth and global expansion.

A subsidiary of SoftBank and Greylock Partners led the round.

Others participating in the round were Allianz Ventures, BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Draper Nexus and Playground Global.

Nauto is an automotive data platform, based on artificial intelligence. The company deploys an after-market dual-camera device on to vehicles.

These cameras can record human driving behaviour and analyse it with the artificial intelligence’s deep learning and computer vision algorithms and smart cloud network.

The funding will help the company in its growth and to support its strategy to retrofit safety and networking system into as many vehicles around the globe and to support the growth of its autonomous vehicle data platform for research and development and for several automakers.

As Nauto’s devices are fitted on to more and more vehicles, the company can accumulate more and more miles, making its network more precise. It claims that its data platform can help in understanding human driving behaviour while offering valuable data for safety features.

This can result in improving fleet safety and operations, while saving lives and reducing liability and expenses. Nauto also expects that over time the system can evolve into co-existence system with human-driven vehicles and autonomous vehicles.

Nauto founder and CEO Stefan Heck said: "SoftBank and Greylock, along with our key strategic partners, are turbo-charging Nauto's ability to make roads safer today and to create an onramp to autonomy for the near future.

"At a time when traffic fatalities are climbing and distracted driving causes more than half of all crashes, we're tackling that problem by putting Nauto's safety features into more commercial fleet vehicles — from trucks and vans to buses and passenger cars — to warn drivers and coach them on how to stay focused.

“And, 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." 

SoftBank Group chairman and ceo Masayoshi Son said: "While building an increasingly intelligent telematics business, Nauto is also generating a highly valuable dataset for autonomous driving, at massive scale.

"This data will help accelerate the development and adoption of safe, effective self-driving technology. We believe in Nauto's potential to revolutionize the automotive sector and look forward to enabling their success."


Image: Nauto raises $159m in series B funding. Photo: Courtesy of Nauto.