Nauto in Talks With OEMs, Building ‘Onramp’ for Autonomous Driving

Nauto is close to signing global partnerships with additional OEMs, Mobility Buzz has learned.

The partnerships would expand on the Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup’s current deals with three OEMs, including BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute, as well as with insurance company Allianz Ventures.

The OEM partnerships are “very imminent” — “we are still in redline stages of the deal and discussions,” Jeanne Meyer, Nauto’s head of marketing, told Mobility Buzz.

Meyer declined to quantify or identify the names of the OEMs.

After more than a year of beta testing in the San Francisco Bay area, Nauto’s autonomous vehicle technology is now commercially available, and snagging attention from several major automakers.

The Nauto system  is  an in-vehicle camera and sensor hardware that allows any vehicle — human or autonomously driven — to be retrofit with the company’s technology. Specifically, Nauto’s tech is an artificial intelligence system which uses computer vision, GPS, vehicle sensors, and data from its smart cloud to provide insights into driver behavior.

“The whole point is for customers who are using Nauto now, which includes fleet-dependent businesses, primarily, and insurance companies — we give them a much better picture of how humans behave behind the wheel,” Jeanne Meyer, Nauto’s head of marketing, told Mobility Buzz.

Nauto’s strategic partners are deploying the proprietary cameras into the fleets they control — for safety and efficiency reasons. Nauto hopes that, in the long-term, its technology can help escalate the deployment of autonomous vehicles.

“We are almost participating in an R&D capacity with big OEMs, who are using our data to help them form their autonomous vehicle features,” Meyer said. “And that could come in the form of a white-label situation in production vehicles that they are working on right now.”

Automakers who utilize Nauto’s transportation technology are aware their competitors are also using it, Meyer said. She said they understand the importance of having a portrait of a person’s driving behavior, particularly for the development of autonomous vehicles, which are expected to be produced within a few years.

As part of its expansion, Nauto plans to open operations in Chicago, Boston, New York, and Seattle by yearend, as well as globally in Asia and Europe.

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