The Volvo Cars Tech Fund has made a strategic investment in CorrActions, an Israeli deep tech company that developed a driver monitoring system that can recognize a driver’s cognitive state, among other things.
The technology which Volvo Car believes will “disrupt brain activity monitoring and may help us understand drivers even better” resulted in a $6 million investment which was CorrAction’s target for this funding round.
A Software That Reads Drivers’ State Of Mind
CorrActions developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software based on tiny muscle movements which correspond to the brain’s activity to identify irregularities in the cognitive state of drivers and passengers.
Through sensors embedded in the steering wheel, for instance, such movements can be used to infer a range of cognitive symptoms, such as a driver who is inattentive, drunk, excessively agitated, or extremely exhausted.
Additionally, according to Ilan Reingold, CEO of CorrActions, the company can determine blood alcohol levels with 90% accuracy and no false positives by simply using a cell phone and watching users interact with an app.
Reingold further disclosed that CorrActions had previously collaborated with Volkswagen to work on a proof-of-concept for this feature.
After testing the software, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund decided to lead CorrActions’ most recent fundraising round with plans to work together in the future. Based on reports, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund’s interest in the Israeli firm falls in line with the problems safety engineers are addressing at Volvo Car.
Volvo noted that decades of studies have shown driving when distracted or fatigued is a common occurrence and for various reasons, a driver’s performance may not always be at its peak. Furthermore, the unthinkable might occur in a matter of seconds, especially in a traffic jam.
“We aim to be a strategic partner of choice for exciting startups that can help boost our position as a tech leader in our industry,” said Alexander Petrofski, Head of Volvo Cars Tech Fund, adding “CorrActions fits the bill perfectly and focuses on a mission that is close to our heart: making cars and the people in and around them safer.”
Safeguarding the Driver
Volvo Car’s investment in the software is timely seeing as the company is currently working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and large fleet managers to monitor the capabilities of the person behind the wheel.
According to CorrActions, its technology “enables automotive manufacturers to understand drivers’ and passengers’ cognitive symptoms, such as fatigue, inattention, anxiety, alcohol, motion sickness, drugs influence, etc. with high accuracy, using data that is already available in vehicles without any changes to the hardware.”
Additionally, Reingold emphasized that firms developing fleets of autonomous vehicles could use this system to monitor passenger motion sickness levels, for instance, to control how the car drives to ensure passengers are comfortable. He however added that this would be run by a millimeter wave radar or camera-based system.
Furthermore, Volvo revealed that its flagship EX90 electric SUV already has a number of devices that can detect a driver’s cognitive state which makes this software a good fit for the company’s cars.
“The CorrActions technology is a highly relevant complement to our driver understanding system. As a result, we’ve decided to take a stake in CorrActions to support the further development and commercialization of its technology,” said Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
In a press release, Volvo Car clarified that the investment made by its Tech Fund was part of a Series A funding round by CorrActions and further financial details would not be disclosed.
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