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The company, which just raised a $31M round, has partnered with Volvo and Toyota
Name any industry and you'll find that it is already being changed by artificial intelligence, including healthtech, research and real estate. Of course, the automotive space is no different, with everything from repairs to sales being upended by the new technology.
Now Israeli startup UVeye is applying artificial intelligence to another aspect of the auto industry: external inspection. The company allows its customers to perform automatic vehicle inspections. The system that can scan a car in mere seconds and detect external and mechanical flaws and identify anomalies, as well as modifications and foreign objects. It even scans the undercarriage of the vehicle as well as the exterior.
Earlier this week, the company announced that it raised an additional $31 million in funding, led by Toyota Tsusho, Volvo Cars and W. R. Berkley Corporation. This latest round brings its total funding raised since 2017 to $35 million.
"Both Toyota and Volvo are leading automotive strategic partners with a long penchant for quality and process control in their production systems. These world-class companies endorse our game-changing auto-scanning solution and show that our technology can help drive higher accuracy and improve efficiency, all with minimal human intervention. Their willingness to invest in our company should be a clear endorsement of our technology," Amir Hever, CEO of UVeye, told VatorNews.
UVeye has three vehicle inspection products that it offer: its undercarriage application, called Helios; its 360 solution, called Atlas; and its targeted tire application, called Artemis. The company's technology is used by customers that include vehicle manufacturers, logistic operators, retailers and rental-car companies.
"UVeye provides solutions for the full life cycle of any vehicle from the in-line inspection through the logistical supply chain, once the vehicle hits the road and beyond. UVeye technology can help a variety of customers in the auto industry," Hever said.
For example, automakers and suppliers can benefit from the quality inspection capability, "which can detect damage to a vehicle’s body, as well as a wide range of mechanical problems, including misalignment or damage to the body, including doors, hood, deck lid, fenders and quarter panels, grille, glass and mirrors bumper and roof rack."
Automotive dealers, meanwhile, benefit from being able to accept custody of new vehicles that may have traveled by rail and truck hundreds or even thousands of miles.
"The system will detect any damage, theft of parts while in transit, leakage of fluids or other issues before the dealer takes physical delivery of a vehicle," explained Hever.
Finally, UVeye’s technology can simplify some of the issues with rental car damage by scanning the vehicle’s panels, its undercarriage and tires to determine wear, abuse and damage.
"This will protect both the rental company and the consumer, who may miss scratches in a dimly lit parking garage or under-car issues from previous renters on a walk around inspection. Damage from curbs, speed bumps, ditches and parking bumpers aren’t always apparent, but can be documented on both ends of the rental period."
Founded in 2016, UVeye didn't start out in the automotive space but in the security sector; it was started to develop and provide security detection equipment using artificial intelligence to identify potential hidden threats in the undercarriage of a vehicle. It was only later that the company recognized that its AI-based system would also lend itself well to automotive inspection applications for different segments of the transportation industry.
"We felt there was a need to provide a system that was faster and more accurate than the handheld mirrors coupled with human judgement that were being used for vehicle inspection at government buildings and facilities, border crossings, at sporting events and for other applications. It is the fastest, most-reliable, best-performing threat-detection inspection system available," Hever told me.
"The system is very powerful and detects threats in real time, but knowing there is a limited market for threat detection equipment like ours, we worked to understand how our AI-based inspection technology could be utilized to positively affect other industries. Very soon we understood that the automotive industry could benefit from this as well, and OEMs started to contact us."
In addition to being investors in the new round, it was also announced that both Volvo Cars and Toyota Tsusho have partnered with UVeye. The technology will be deployed in Volvo Cars factories, dealerships and in the aftermarket. UVeye also will support distribution for Toyota Tusho to used-car centers, as well as throughout the company's footprint within the Japanese auto market.
"These strategic investors were chosen carefully and are interested in implementing the
technology in many stages of the life cycle including the aftermarket. There will be very
interesting and innovative case studies around this that will be shared throughout 2020," said Dever.
UVeye has now scanned millions of vehicle scans across dozens of countries. It currently works with five OEMs, including Skoda and Daimler. Going forward, the company plans to partner with more OEM's with the ultimate goal of "being the chosen and endorsed standard for vehicle inspection."
"We really believe that we are setting a global standard for automatic vehicle inspection and will be happy to work with more OEM's and other multi-national companies. We're currently focused on the automotive industry but our technology can be applicable long term to other challenges as well."
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