In an official statement, SoftBank Group Corp. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said, “While building an increasingly intelligent telematics business, Nauto is also generating a highly valuable dataset for autonomous driving, at massive scale. This data will help accelerate the development and adoption of safe, effective self-driving technology.”
Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.
The transaction will see Greylock’s Hoffman and SoftBank’s Shu Nyatta take board seats at Nauto, joining existing members including Nauto’s Stefan Heck, automotive industry veteran Karen C. Francis (Ford, GM) and Bruce Leak of Playground Global.
The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle R&D across multiple automakers.
Nauto is an automotive data platform, powered by AI 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.
“SoftBank and Greylock, along with our key strategic partners, are turbo-charging Nauto’s ability to make roads safer today and to create an onramp to autonomy for the near future,” said Nauto founder and CEO Stefan Heck.
“At a time when traffic fatalities are climbing and distracted driving causes more than half of all crashes, we’re tackling that problem by putting Nauto’s safety features into more commercial fleet vehicles — from trucks and vans to buses and passenger cars — to warn drivers and coach them on how to stay focused.”