5 Cool Startup Technologies For Your Car
Technology is about to change the way consumers drive.
"We can make your driving smarter, safer, greener, more affordable [and] more social," Jamyn Edis, founder and CEO of Dash, told Benzinga. "You can save money on things like gas, repairs, maintenance and ultimately insurance."
Dash is a bring-your-own ODB service that gathers roughly 300 data points in real time. It is one of many devices that take advantage of an automobile's on-board computer. Zubie is another.
"Our service is delivered to the customer through a mobile app or a Web view experience," Tim Kelly, CEO of Zubie, told Benzinga. "We try to do several things to just help people better manage the driving experience."
Read on for more about the coolest car tech startups.
Navdy, a smart HUD (head-up display) for automobiles, is striving for innovation in another important area: calls, texts and navigation.
"It's the first time that a head-up display is being combined with touchless gesture recognition, keeping the driver's eyes on the road, but also creating an amazing user experience," Doug Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Navdy, told Benzinga.
This week Navdy announced that it secured $6.5 million in a seed round -- nearly three times the $2.4 million it originally sought. The company also announced that it has extended its pre-order campaign after customers ordered more than $3 million worth of Navdy units.
"We closed the round of funding before the pre-order campaign launch," said Simpson. "We wanted to do that to make sure we were well-capitalized and so we could deliver on the customer orders regardless of what happened with the pre-order campaign. We were trying to raise $2.4 million and it was ridiculously over-subscribed, and we ended up raising it to $6.5 million. Even with that we ended up turning down money."
2. Cruise Automation
Cruise Automation is on an interesting mission. The company wants to turn any car into a driverless automobile.
To accomplish this goal, the startup is currently taking pre-orders for the $10,000 Cruise RP-1, an autopilot system for the Audi A4 and S4 (2012 or later). Other makes and models will be supported at some point in the future. In the meantime, consumers can get a glimpse of the future by watching this teaser video:
Zubie recently partnered with The Progressive Corporation (NYSE: PGR) to offer an industry-first telematics solution that rewards safe drivers. The startup also partnered with Telefonica S.A. (NYSE: TEF) to bring its connected car solutions to international markets.
"We're inviting third parties into the app to be able to provide incentives and discounts to our customers in the form of what we call Zubie Perks," said Kelly. "It's an opportunity for our users to share their driving information in exchange for significant discounts on auto insurance or car maintenance and repair and things of that nature. They make the decision to allow a third-party access to some of their driving information in exchange for those real-time, contextual discounts that are very specific to their driving experience."
In addition to the many data points gathered by Dash, the service provides users with clear diagnostic information -- in plain English.
"We'll give you a description of the issue," said Edis. "We'll tell you what the severity of it is. We'll tell you how much it will cost to fix it in parts and labor and where you can get it fixed nearby."
Metromile is yet another device and service that utilizes a car's on-board computer. It provides a number of free features for consumers who don't want to pay, such as engine diagnostics, MPG tracking and fuel cost per trip.
Those features are available from other devices as well, but Metromile offers something unique: per-mile insurance for users who drive no more than 10,000 miles per year.
Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.
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