Toyota and BMW have invested in a unique self-driving car startup
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Both Toyota and BMW recently invested Nauto, a self-driving car startup focused on collecting data from cars currently on the road so that companies can leverage that data to build out their self-driving car’s technology, according to Recode.
The investment was part of a larger Series A funding round that was led by Playground Global and also included Draper Nexus and Allianz Ventures.
Nauto currently outfits in manually driven fleets and personal cars with cameras and sensors to gather data on driver behavior. To do so, it is seeking partnerships with fleet management firms and some automakers to equip their vehicles with Nauto’s devices. Because of this existing relationship with many fleet managers and some automakers, Nauto has a much stronger base of real-world driving data that is very appealing to automakers.
Nauto will provide the Toyota and BMW aggregated and anonymized data so it can create its own autonomous driving software. Jim Adler, Toyota’s head of data and business development, told Recode that the more experience the company has in simulating real-world driving scenarios, the better positioned it will be to build out self-driving car software. The plan is to eventually have Nauto’s software built into vehicles that BMW and Toyota manufacture.
Data will give self-driving car makers an edge to better understand road conditions and driver behaviors to implement the information into an autonomous driving product. By partnering with Nauto and implementing the devices into the vehicles they create, a much wider data set of driver behavior will be able to be collected.
John Greenough, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on self-driving cars that examines the major strides automakers and tech companies have made to overcome the barriers currently preventing fully autonomous cars from hitting the market. Further, the report examines global survey results showing where fully autonomous cars are highly desired.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Three barriers have been preventing fully autonomous cars from hitting the road: 1) high technological component prices; 2) varying degrees of consumer trust in the technology; and 3) relatively nonexistent regulations. However, in the past six months, there have been many advances in overcoming these barriers.
- Technology has been improving as new market entrants find innovative ways to expand on existing fully autonomous car technology. As a result, the price of the components required for fully autonomous cars has been dropping.
- Consumer trust in fully autonomous vehicle technology has increased in the past two years.
- California became the first US state to propose regulations. California's regulations stipulate that a fully autonomous car must have a driver behind the wheel at all times, discouraging Google's and Uber's idea of a driverless taxi system.
In full, the report:
- Examines consumer trust in fully autonomous vehicles
- Identifies technological advancements that have been made in the industry
- Analyzes the cost of fully autonomous technology and identifies how cost is being reduced
- Explains the current regulations surrounding fully autonomous cars
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