Road safety is easily talked about, but a look into statistics unlocks its tremendous significance: Each year, 1.3 million people die and 50 million are injured globally as a result of road traffic accidents. Of these, almost 95% are caused by human error and could be prevented. And the human factor will continue to be a crucial factor in the onramp to autonomous transportation, which will include a period where humans interact with automated vehicles. Whether we are drivers, passengers, or pedestrians: our aim needs to be to have networked vehicles and people learning to coexist safely and more efficiently.
Therefore, Allianz engages from different angles in a productive exchange with various experts in this field to accompany future developments. Together with three major auto companies, including BMW i Ventures and Toyota Research Institute, Allianz Ventures has entered into a strategic agreement with autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto Inc..
The California-based Start-up was founded in 2015 and its device collects and analyzes visual data and provides feedback in real-time to help drivers operate vehicles more efficiently, effectively and safely. Subsequently, selected information is uploaded to a smart and secure cloud to further improve Nauto’s deep learning algorithms. Nauto uses computer vision technology, GPS, inertial measurements, cameras and proprietary algorithms to produce a multi-dimensional understanding of the car’s surroundings. The captured and processed data informs the driver about his or her driving style, upcoming hazards and the environment such as traffic information by lane, street parking spaces or potential risks.
“The investment in Nauto provides us with a link to and cooperation with a very innovative environment. We will gain insights into technology used in self-driving cars and learn about algorithms to prepare for the next technological revolution with a high impact on motor insurance”, explained Christof Mascher, COO of Allianz Group. Allianz is convinced, that advanced technology as developed by Nauto will enable new insurance products, e.g. for fleets, and driver assistance systems with telematics functionalities, that are recognized as a way to assess, accept, manage and improve risk. “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.”
The companies invested in Nauto 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. As already tested in 25 cities globally, Nauto’s system generates additional information to help municipalities decrease congestion and eliminate traffic fatalities.
Under the agreements, Nauto and its auto and insurance industry partners will license data and technologies, including Nauto’s artificial intelligence-powered vehicle network. The more vehicles deploy Nauto, the better 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. Resulting insights could 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