Toyota and Volvo Invest Millions in AI Startup UVeye
UVeye, an Israeli startup that combines AI, machine learning, and computer vision to detect physical and mechanical flaws in vehicles, has raised $31 million in series B funding led by Toyota, Volvo, and W.R. Berkley Corp.
The Tel-Aviv based company developed a technology for scanning vehicles to instantly identify anomalies, attracting the attention of carmakers and insurance companies alike and raising $31 million in the latest series B funding round, closed today.
The startup, which was founded in 2016, assesses damage and abnormalities by taking images of the vehicle while it moves through a scanner. Those images are then analyzed using computer vision and AI to generate a prompt report.
“We’re able to find everything from a really small scratch, as small as 2 millimeters, to then understanding the gaps, or in case of collision to understand exactly what parts were damaged,” Amir Hever, the company founder and CEO, said to Forbes.
The drive-through inspection system can be applied anywhere along an assembly line to discover potential flaws in the production process, or at the end of the line for a final inspection before the vehicle leaves the factory.
Another application of this vehicle inspection technology is in rental car lots and car dealerships. Insurance companies use it there to discover mechanical damages to their fleet.
“Our customers can use the whole solution together or each can be used standalone,” Hever explains. In fact, each of the key investors in the Israeli startup has its own plan for implementing the technology.
Toyota Tsusho, a member of the Toyota Group that provides a number of car-related services such as exporting, intends to use UVeye solution to “support distribution to used-car centers and throughout the company’s footprint within the Japanese auto market,” according to a news release.
Volvo, on the other hand, wants to deploy the flaw-detecting scanner in its factories, dealerships, and on its aftermarket products.
“Premium quality standards are at the core of the Volvo brand, and we are intrigued by the possibilities that UVeye’s technology offers,” said Zaki Fasihuddin, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund. “This type of advanced scanning technology could allow us to take the next step in quality.”
W.R. Berkley, the insurer who previously participated in the in series A round of funding, sees a broader application of UVeye technology in the insurance industry.
“When we made our initial investment in UVeye two years ago, we believed its system could have game-changing impact within security and inspection applications globally, and today’s announcement validates that early hypothesis,” said Mike Nannizzi, director of Fintech investments from W. R. Berkley.
Hever said other industries are showing interest in his scanning technology, which aims to replace the outdated analog way of inspecting vehicles.
“We get a lot of inquiries for aviation, trains, ships,” he said, “but we’re focusing on the car industry because we understand there are a lot of opportunities for us.”
According to CrunchBase, UVeye has raised $35 million in two funding rounds.