The current focus on developing fully autonomous vehicles may be ambitious, but such vehicles remain far over the horizon. Rather than dream about a distant future, the founders of Provizio believe many of those same emerging autonomous technologies could be applied to make cars today safer and save lives.
The Irish company today announced it has raised $6.2 million to accelerate the development of its Accident Prevention Technology. Investors included angel investors such as Autonomous Stuff founder Bobby Hambrick, the founders of computer vision startup Movidius (which was bought by Intel), the European Innovation Council, and ACT Venture Capital.
Having developed the essential technologies, the company will focus on finding partners how can help deploy it. According to Provizio CEO and cofounder Barry Lunn, many of the building blocks for autonomy are ready to make a big impact today on road safety.
“Over 94% of accidents are caused by humans,” Lunn said. “So if we could just solve accidents, that’s a pretty big deal.”
Lunn’s background as an entrepreneur and in vision technology led him to found the company to find more practical applications. He had previously founded Arralis, a radar company that worked with such partners as NASA, General Motors, and Boeing.
In founding Provizio last year, Lunn sought to build upon the radar work he had previously done. Provizio has developed a platform the encompasses technologies such as AI operating at the edge and his radar technology that’s designed to provide information from beyond the driver’s line-of-sight. Lunn said getting information from much further distances and then allowing the system to process is critical to giving the vehicle sufficient time to warn the driver about potential problems.
Of course, automakers have already made substantial advances in safety technologies thanks to advanced sensors. But according to Provizio, the standard energy braking system measures objects about 40 meters away, allowing for about 1 second of reaction time when driving on the highway.
In contrast, the company’s combination of radar, vision sensors, and machine learning will increase that time and distance by 10 times. Lunn predicts that technology could avoid a large number of accidents in the short term. And that’s a better use of these technologies than using them mainly for testing autonomous vehicles that may not be road-ready for years.
“Over the last 20 years, you’ve had billions and billions invested in the autonomous industry and it’s had zero effect on road safety,” Lunn said. “Our goal is to get this technology into every vehicle on the road.
Having developed the basic technology, Provizio is not searching for partners. Rather than going directly to automakers, the company will sell to major auto suppliers, also known as Tier One. These companies have relationships with the industry and Lunn thinks that offers a better path to adoption.
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