Uber drivers’ livelihoods depend on being able to stay on the road. If a driver gets in an accident, no matter whose fault it is, that threatens their ability to make a living.
Nexar, an AI dash cam, is trying to help drivers and their ride-sharing employers by stopping accidents before they happen. When accidents do happen, Nexar will provide video and data to prove what went down.
"If you think about almost every car collision that ever happened, if you would give the drivers involved in that collision 10 seconds of warning, you’d be able to prevent the collision," CEO Eran Shir said.
The Nexar Anroid and iOS app turns a driver’s phone into a dash cam that uses AI. Picking up signals from other drivers using Nexar and from the camera’s own machine vision, the app beeps loudly to warn drivers in real time if someone else on the road comes to a hard stop or if a truck is coming up in a blind spot.
In the case that Nexar doesn’t quite prevent an accident, the app also records video and data for drivers to provide to a collision reconstruction report for insurance companies and ride-sharing employers. Nexar can tell them that the driver was hit at a 30 degree angle at 15 miles per hour, for example. The app can also record video inside a car to protect drivers if they’re saddled with drunk or disruptive passengers.
Some higher-end cars can already provide similar information, but Nexar uses its vehicle-to-vehicle network to bring that capability to any car.
The technology that makes Nexar work — using AI through a smartphone — wasn’t advanced enough to get started on this project until a little over two years ago, Shir said. The first phone that was compatible with Nexar was the iPhone 5S, released in late 2013. Nexar launched in 2015 in Tel Aviv and has raised $14.5 million in funding, according to Crunchbase.
"There is a very problematic gap between the novelty when you hear about autonomous vehicles coming down the pipe, then at the end of the year statistics for collisions went up," Shir said.
Nexar works best when as many people as possible are using the app. The dash cam is technically in 2,000 cities, but its staffers are more focused on building density than reach. New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas are the three U.S. cities where that density is growing.