Rendering of UVeye drive-through vehicle inspection system.
An Israeli startup has come up with technology to instantly inspect vehicles for physical and mechanical flaws leading Volvo Cars, Toyota Tsusho Co, Toyota Group’s trading unit and commercial insurance holding company W.R. Berkely Corp. to collectively invest $31 million in the company.
Tel Aviv-based UVeye uses a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning and cameras to create a drive-through system that automatically detects even the slightest flaws in a vehicle, according to UVeye CEO Amir Hever.
Amir Hever, CEO, UVeye
“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,” said Hever in an interview.
The system can be placed anywhere along an assembly line to find any issues before the vehicle is completely built, as well as at the end of the line to provide a final inspection, Hever explained. The drive-through inspection system can also be used at dealerships, rental car lots and by insurance companies, Hever added.
There are actually three different inspection models examining a vehicle’s undercarriage, tires and the exterior.
“Our customer can use the whole solution together or each can be used standalone,” said Hever.
Indeed, each of the companies investing in UVeye has a different plan for how they plan to use the technology.
Volvo S90 approaching UVeye drive-through inspection module.
Both Toyota Tsusho and Volvo say they will set up inspection stations internationally using UVeye’s. In Volvo’s case, it will be used at factories, dealerships and for aftermarket sites.
“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, in a release. “This type of advanced scanning technology could allow us to take the next step in quality.”
Toyota Tsusho is looking to UVeye to “support distribution to used-car centers and throughout the company’s footprint within the Japanese auto market,” according to a news release.
This latest round of funding is the second investment in UVeye for W.R. Berkley, which sees wider use of drive-through inspection technology for 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, in a statement.
UVeye already has relationships with automakers Daimler AG and Skoda Auto, along with this latest addition of Volvo. Hever said the company is working with at least two other automakers that he couldn’t reveal right now.
But the company is clearly looking beyond automotive manufacturing as evidenced by its dip into the insurance industry through its relationship with W.R. Berkley. Hever pointed out it can used in states that require motorists to bring their vehicles in for annual inspections, at rental car companies to quickly determine if any of its fleet’s vehicles suffered damage in the hands of a customer and at used car lots, to assess the condition of vehicles acquired by trade-in or purchased at auction.
That’s not to say other industries aren’t interested in UVeye’s drive-through inspection technology.
“We get a a lot of inquiries for aviation, trains, ships,” said Hever, “but we’re focusing on the car industry because we understand there are a lot of opportunities for us.”
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