Nauto Unveils Auto Indutry's First Video-Enhanced Driver Distraction Detection Feature

Nauto 2 Upgrade Designed to Make Driving Safer and Fleets Smarter With New Hardware Design and Enhanced Artificial Intelligence Data Platform

Palo Alto, CA, May 3, 2017 Nauto, the transportation technology company whose data platform is making driving safer and fleets smarter, can now detect and notate distracted driving in its new, upgraded Nauto 2 system, rolling out to commercial fleet customers in North America. The distraction feature is the automotive industry’s first aftermarket platform that uses video and artificial intelligence to detect whenever a driver’s eyes divert from the road or engage in other distracted behavior; it then automatically uploads it and scores the event’s severity via a secure app. The upgraded Nauto 2 system launches at a time when traffic fatalities in the US are rising at the fastest rate in 50 years, with 68% of all crashes caused by distraction and 3500 of them ending in fatalities each year (National Safety Council, February 2017). (National Safety Council, February 2017).

Video examples of Nauto’s distraction detection are available on YouTube here or downloadable from here.

Photos of Nauto’s new hardware are available here. 

“Distracted driving is a top reason why our roads are getting more dangerous and more crowded. Nauto’s own data shows a distraction event occurs, on average, every 4 miles.  Our commercial fleets and professional driver customers have been demanding tools to detect distracted behavior and provide corrective feedback,” said Nauto founder and CEO Stefan Heck. “Our new system not only detects instances of distraction, it automatically scores the severity and uploads video of the event.  We provide powerful visual context inside and outside the vehicle, and give drivers and fleet managers meaningful insights. The more accurately Nauto can observe human driving behavior, the smarter we can make the professional drivers who depend on us, and the safer we can make our streets and highways.”

Nauto is an automotive data platform, powered by artificial intelligence and an after-market dual-camera device, which can equip any vehicle or fleet with sophisticated safety and networking features. The Nauto 2 system also includes a new windshield mounted hardware design, updated deep learning and computer vision algorithms and smart cloud network informed by the accumulation of more than a million miles on urban streets and highways. 

Nauto’s scoring system, called VERA (Vision Enhanced Risk Assessment) includes a risk rating for the frequency and severity of distraction events (for example, a distraction event while stopped at a red light would not generate the same high risk score as a distraction event that occurred at65 mph speed on a freeway).

Because Nauto learns from other drivers, the road and conditions around vehicles in the Nauto network, fleets equipped with Nauto have access to valuable features, such as automatically uploaded video of significant events and insights delivered in real time to help fleet managers improve overall driver performance and enhance the safety and efficiency of an entire fleet.

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About Nauto

Nauto is a Palo Alto, California based transportation technology company whose AI-powered data platform is making driving safer and fleets smarter. Nauto’s intelligent vehicle hardware saves lives by preventing collisions, improving driver behavior, and learning from the diverse data shared across its network. Nauto’s strategic partners include Allianz Insurance, Toyota and BMW and its backers include Playground Global, Draper Nexus and Index Ventures. Nauto’s team of data science and machine learning Ph.D’s, world class engineers, insurance and fleet industry veterans are developing Nauto’s products and deploying them to professional fleet and insurance industry customers.  More information about Nauto is available at, or on LinkedIn, Facebook and @NautoDriver on Twitter.




Announcing strategic partnerships with Allianz Ventures, BMW i ventures and Toyota

Autonomous car technology is capturing imaginations and getting a lot of attention. The imminent promise of self-driving cars is generating fear in some, and to others, visions of a utopia free of traffic jams and traffic fatalities. But as the automotive and technology worlds furiously work to introduce self-driving vehicles, it’s worth noting that we’re looking at an on-ramp period of several years in which autonomous cars must co-exist on the roadways with vehicles that have some autonomous features, as well as cars operated by just plain human drivers.

To pave the way to true autonomy, all those with a stake in modern mobility (and that’s, well, just about everybody and every institution or business) will need a much clearer picture of how drivers behave, and how drivers interact with each other and their environment. Getting that picture will require new levels of cooperation among auto makers, insurance companies, technology companies, and public and private enterprise. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s recently-issued Automated Vehicles Policy Outline, which includes suggested 15-point safety guidelines is a great jump start for this process, but the autonomous car arena is still miles away from the rubber meeting the road.

But it’s getting closer. Today, I’m pleased that Nauto has announced strategic partnerships with major automakers and a global insurance company to begin deploying the Nauto system and pooling data. The resulting anonymized information, contributed from thousands of vehicles from different manufacturers, demonstrates an unprecedented level of cooperation and will propel autonomous technology development in profound ways. You can read about it in our press release below.


Top Insurance and Auto Industry Companies to Work with Nauto’s Continuous Learning Network To Jointly Develop Standard Data Platform For The Future of Intelligent Vehicles.

Palo Alto, CA, October 7, 2016 — Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto has entered into strategic agreements with three major auto companies, including BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute, as well as with Allianz Ventures, part of the leading global financial service provider and insurance company Allianz Group.

These companies have invested in Nauto and are working with the company on autonomous vehicle development using the Nauto cloud-based data learning platform. Nauto has developed deep learning capabilities that run both in the cloud and on retrofit devices that can be mounted in any vehicle. Nauto is already deployed into commercial passenger, logistics and delivery fleets and enables these fleets to manage vehicle and driver safety and operate more efficiently. The agreements enable Nauto to significantly grow its artificial intelligence-powered deep learning network and accelerate deployment into shared vehicle fleets and eventually migrate from retrofit device into new production vehicles.

Under the agreements, Nauto and its auto and insurance industry partners will license data and technologies, including Nauto’s artificial intelligence-powered vehicle network. As more and more vehicles deploy Nauto, its connected car network will be populated with greater volumes of precise information on how drivers and vehicles behave and perform — understanding both how excellent drivers handle vehicles in real urban conditions as well as the combinations of errors, distraction, and challenging circumstances that lead to crashes. The resulting insights will improve fleet safety and operations near term to save lives and reduce liability and expenses. Over time they will usher in a new era, from human-driven to autonomous vehicles.

“As the auto industry experiences this period of unprecedented innovation, we’ve also reached a need for a learning network that will allow human and autonomous vehicles to operate together harmoniously. We want drivers, passengers, and everyone in the manufacturing and infrastructure supply chain to unlock the value that can come from pooling precise, but secure and anonymous data from Nauto’s network,” said Stefan Heck, CEO of Nauto. “Having the participation of major players in the auto and insurance industry is essential in establishing a cornerstone as we re-imagine and build a safer, smarter and congestion-free transportation system. We are honored to have Nauto play an important part in building an onramp that will benefit the automotive and insurance industries, their supply chain, as well as human drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.”

“We were impressed by Nauto’s comprehensive approach to improving urban mobility and are excited to be part of further developing its future. BMW will benefit from insights gained from Nauto’s continuous learning network as part of our autonomous development efforts,” said Ulrich Quay, Head of BMW i Ventures.

“What Nauto is developing is very much aligned with Toyota Research Institute’s own commitment to developing safe, reliable mobility systems,” said Gill Pratt, CEO Toyota Research Institute. “Our relationship with Nauto and its team will accelerate what we are doing with deep learning systems and inform ways we can serve as a guardian for human drivers during a period of technology-driven change in transportation and mobility overall.”

“The technology Nauto is developing has the potential to revolutionize the motor insurance business regarding claims handling, underwriting and profitability,” said Solmaz Altin, Chief Digital Officer of Allianz Group. “We are looking forward to piloting this technology to enhance our value proposition towards customers and to contribute to road safety.”

Nauto transforms today’s commercial fleets into tomorrow’s autonomous driving network by enhancing operations, reducing costs and delivering safer roads. The Nauto system — an in-vehicle camera and sensor hardware, a smart network and a continuous learning cloud — allows any vehicle, human or autonomously driven, to be retrofit with innovative safety and networking technology. A Nauto-enabled vehicle becomes part of a valuable network that is constantly learning how to reduce risks and make driving safer and more efficient. At Nauto’s core is a perpetually learning artificial intelligence system which uses computer vision, GPS, vehicle sensors and data from its smart cloud to give a full, contextual and accurate picture and provide insights into driver behavior. Nauto’s system stays one step ahead to prevent accidents before they happen, capture information about close calls, and learn from relevant vehicle and driver behavior. Nauto can detect potential driver distraction inside the car, as well as safety issues outside the vehicle. The system automatically uploads and tags road conditions and incidents that matter (drivers don’t need to manually input data) and alerts fleet managers to accidents, near-misses or major driving performance issues.

In addition, Nauto is working with the insurance industry to provide insights that help insurers offer enhanced services and build long-lasting customer relationships. Insurers get a more precise view of each and every driver that can help personalize coverage, deliver precision risk assessments, reduce fraudulent claims and provide enhanced urban mobility services for commercial fleets. Nauto’s artificial intelligence platform drives deep learning that goes beyond the basics of recorded events by capturing driver behavior, inside-the-vehicle activity and correlations from road, weather and traffic conditions. Nauto can not only rate drivers, but also detect patterns of near-misses and dangerous circumstances to coach and proactively warn drivers before accidents happen.

Nauto was co-founded in 2015 by CEO Stefan Heck, Ph.D., a Stanford Consulting Professor and former McKinsey & Company senior partner, and CTO Frederick Soo Ph.D., a neuroscientist-turned hardware engineer and entrepreneur. Nauto’s backers include Playground Global, Draper Nexus and Index Ventures. Nauto’s team of data science and machine learning Ph.D’s, world class engineers, and industry veterans in insurance and livery fleet operations are located in Playground Global Studio, where they are developing Nauto’s products and deploying them to professional fleet and insurance industry customers. Dr. Heck was inspired to develop Nauto after decades of advising some of the world’s biggest companies and governments on energy, innovation and resource economics.

Nauto-equipped vehicles began gathering and learning street and driving patterns in more than 24 cities around the world, from Bangalore and Vienna to Mexico City and Boston, and are now in commercial deployments in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City.

More information about Nauto is available at, or on LinkedIn, Facebook and @NautoDriver on Twitter.

Building the Onramp for Autonomous Driving

Today, about a year after founding NAUTO, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve secured our Series A funding. The formal announcement is below.


Draper Nexus and Index Ventures Also Participate in Round To Fuel Development of NAUTO’s Connected Camera and Smart Cloud System for Safer, Easier And More Efficient Driving

NAUTO Will Join Playground’s Studio and Collaborate With Its Team On Hardware, Artificial Intelligence and Cloud-Based Automotive Technology

Palo Alto, APRIL 13, 2016 — Autonomous vehicle technology start-up NAUTO has closed a $12 million round of Series A funding led by Playground Global, the new hardware venture fund formed by Android creator Andy Rubin. In addition, advanced technology fund Draper Nexus and Index Ventures also participated in the round, which will fund development of NAUTO’s proprietary connected camera and cloud-based system aimed at making driving safer, easier and more efficient.

NAUTO is currently focused on the professional driver, fleet and insurance companies and is also working with automotive manufacturers to develop fleet and autonomous vehicle solutions based on NAUTO’s computer vision and machine learning technologies.

NAUTO’s team will relocate to Playground Global’s Design Studio in Palo Alto and the company’s technology, data science, computer vision and machine learning experts will collaborate with Playground’s team of engineers and designers, whose backgrounds hail from Apple, General Magic, Web TV and Android.

“We now have a Formula One-caliber team, and the financial, talent and resources that will speed our delivery and fine-tune the hardware and software powering NAUTO,” says NAUTO CEO, Dr. Stefan Heck. “The automotive world is undergoing a renaissance, but it’s getting as congested as Highway 101. We are creating a safer, smarter and congestion-free transportation system by using visual data, machine learning and hardware to design and build an onramp that will benefit the automotive industry, its supply chain and its consumers. With solid financing in place and access to Playground’s facilities and braintrust, we’ll get there even faster.”

“NAUTO’s approach to urban mobility not only makes driving safer, but changes the way we can think about transportation,” said Bruce Leak, co-founder at Playground, who is joining the NAUTO board. “ith a combination of cameras and the cloud, NAUTO’s autonomous vehicle technology is constantly learning about the driver, commutes, traffic — all building a better driving environment. The team has perfectly executed on the hardware and software and the world’s roads will soon benefit from it.”

“Draper Nexus invests heavily in automation and believes in the autonomous future that NAUTO’s technology enables in the mobility and transportation space,” said Q Motiwala, Managing Director, Draper Nexus. “We think NAUTO is uniquely positioned because they are unlocking huge opportunities in the fleets and insurance verticals en route to realizing the bold vision of being the brain of the autonomous car. We were also impressed by the stellar team that Stefan has put together and the capabilities of our co-investor, Playground Global.”

Unlike vehicles using static dash cameras, a NAUTO-enabled vehicle becomes part of a network that is constantly learning how to reduce risks and make driving more efficient. NAUTO uses computer vision, GPS, vehicle sensors, and data from its smart cloud to prevent accidents before they happen. NAUTO can deliver instant notification of accidents and highlight close calls, allowing fleet managers to focus on urgent incidents and major driving performance issues rather than watching hours of video or learning of problem after the fact. And unlike telematics and UBI systems alone, NAUTO can flag driver distraction and near-misses that would otherwise be unseen.

  • NAUTO gives the full, contextual picture and more accurate insights into driver behavior than current systems provide. NAUTO observes, learns and tags important visual data about potential driver distraction or safety events and uploads them to its smart cloud. Insurance underwriters can leverage NAUTO to more accurately assess risk and determine fault in accidents, while fleet management can use it to reduce liability exposure and to coach drivers on ways to improve.
  • NAUTO does not distract drivers. Key incidents are automatically tagged and uploaded, so drivers don’t need to manually input data. NAUTO can deliver short term warnings, deliver feedback at the beginning and end of trips and provide coaching and feedback via apps tailored for fleet management companies and auto insurance carriers.
  • NAUTO protects the privacy and security of drivers, passengers and fleets. NAUTO’s device automatically detects and uploads only specific information that is relevant for liability, driver safety and fleet operations and gives a full contextual picture (for example, not just that a collision or hard-braking event occurred, but why and how it happened), and only while the vehicle is under fleet operation. Under normal driving conditions, NAUTO does not identify passengers, drivers and other vehicles, and only retains sensitive data for a short period of time.

NAUTO was co-founded in 2015 by CEO Stefan Heck, Ph.D., a Stanford Consulting Professor and former McKinsey & Company senior partner, and CTO Frederick Soo Ph.D., a neuroscientist-turned hardware engineer and entrepreneur. Together they have recruited a team of data science and machine learning Ph.D’s, world class engineers, and industry veterans in insurance and livery fleet operations to bring NAUTO’s product to market. Dr. Heck was inspired to develop NAUTO after decades of advising some of the world’s biggest companies and governments on energy, innovation and resource economics.

The company launched a pilot with dozens of fleet companies in the San Francisco Bay Area last fall, and NAUTO-equipped vehicles began gathering and learning street and driving patterns in more than 23 cities around the world, from Bangalore and Vienna to Mexico City and Boston.