As technology continues to advance, it is becoming easier to face distractions in our daily lives. One of the biggest consequences of these constant distractions is the ever-increasing number of drivers who are not paying attention. With over 481,000 daytime drivers using their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle, it is no surprise that 3,450 people were killed and 391,000 were injured from distracted driving in 2016. Nauto, a recent startup, is aware of this issue. By creating distracted driving prevention devices, Nauto believes they can significantly reduce the amount of distracted driving on American roads.
Who Is Nauto and How Do They Address Distracted Driving Prevention?
Nauto, Inc., a transportation technology company, started in 2015 and operates out of Palo Alto, California. Nauto has developed the Prevent, a distracted driving technology solution. They believe this will reduce the amount of distracted drivers on the road as well as train autonomous vehicles for all types of scenarios.
The company raised $159 million from Softbank and Greylock for their device that uses front- and rear-facing cameras to collect and study driver behavior and road conditions. Nauto also received $173.9 million in strategic investments from automakers like General Motor Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, and BMW iVentures.
While the company still needs to gather “billions [of] miles of real driving experience and data to get a precise understanding of how the best drivers behave behind the wheel,” CEO Stefan Heck believes that this stepping stone to autonomy will be achieved in the next few years.
The Nauto Prevent and How It Is Reducing Distracted Driving Prevention
The Nauto Prevent is a multifunctional two-way windshield camera. The device monitors both the road in front of the car and the driver who is operating the vehicle. The rear-facing camera uses advanced computer vision and machine learning, similar to Apple’s Facial Recognition, to detect and document when drivers appear to be distracted. If the device records its driver to be looking away from the road for more than 5 seconds, a vocal notification will remind the driver to pay attention. The device will sound an alarm to alert a continuously distracted driver.
The front-facing camera gathers road data that it constantly observe and record while driving. The Prevent does more than just observe and nudge our distracted behaviors, however. The device coaches drivers in real-time to maintain safe following distances. It also alerts drivers if there are risks present in the road ahead.
The Prevent will also allow drivers to easily send critical video data to insurers, if an accident ever does take place.
The Future of Nauto and What We Can Expect
Nauto is currently offering a complimentary demo for distracted driving prevention. However, purchasing the device may not be an option for everyone due to cost. Its list price is $499 for the device or offered at a monthly pricing of $39. Regardless of whether you wish to buy the Prevent or not, the device is currently in use nationwide. Various service fleets including taxi, rental, package/parcel delivery, rider sharing, and enterprise vehicles carry this device.
Before the automotive industry reaches autonomy, Nauto believes their device will lead the industry in distracted driving prevention. It hopes to reduce accidents, collisions, and injuries on the road. Once self-driving cars are mainstream, Nauto expects they will have acquired enough data to prepare autonomous cars for mistakes made by distracted, nonautonomous drivers. If Nauto stands by their word, we can expect better road safety in the future. We will have a future not only filled with smarter and safer autonomous vehicles, but safer roadways altogether.
As technology continues to advance and more cars use American roadways, we can only expect an ever-growing number of distracted drivers as a result. Nauto has identified and is now combatting this distracted driving prevention concern. This is through a device that not only monitors and enforces nondistracted driving but also encourages it. Nauto, and their respected owners, are making a bold and socially conscious impact on society.