Toyota, BMW, GM Invest in Self-Driving Startup Nauto

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July 20, 2017—GM, BMW and Toyota have all invested in the same self-driving startup, Nauto, which was launched by former Tesla engineers, according to Electrek.

Nauto’s technology is based on a dashcam, but it’s a two-way system that also monitors the driver, which is believed to be an important part of autonomous driving for Level 3 and 4.

Level 5 autonomous driving shouldn’t require any input or attention from a driver, but Level 3 and 4 would require a transition period between conditions in which the autonomous driving can and cannot drive. A certain level of attention would be required at that point, which is why people in the industry believe that driver-facing cameras would be needed.

Nauto's dashcam can recognize the drivers and it monitors their gaze in order to know if they are paying attention. They also can detect dangerous moments and evaluate the driver’s reaction.

Right now, it offers regular dashcam functionalities and fleet management services, but in the future, Nauto wants to use its data to accelerate the deployment of safe autonomous driving systems using its computer vision technology.

Nauto announced the close of a $159 million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

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