Top Six Car Tech Startups in 2014

By | April 27, 2015


Technology is constantly evolving whether its applications in food industry or automobile industry. It also changes the preferences and the taste of the consumers. From in-car connectivity with Bluetooth to keyless cars to the driverless cars, technology keeps the automobile industry at change constantly. Various startups are coming up everyday processing the change and helping the automobile industry and car owners to make better use of their vehicles. Some really cool and top car tech startups have been discussed below:

1.Navdy:

The Navdy HUD (Heads Up Display) system sits on the car’s dashboard between the steering wheel and the windshield with a screen that displays an image to float six feet in front of the windshield. The projected display connects the user’s iPhone or Android phone via apps like Google Maps to help one navigate around town without looking down at a phone or over at a center console. Just with gestures, one can control the calls while driving. Voice control takes care of the text messages. The new messages are read out and the replies can be sent via the same. Measuring just 5″/4″, Navdy is a projector that can plug into a car’s 12V power outlet. Apart from connecting with smart phones, it can display information like speed, RPM, mileage, fuel level, engine status and other data on car’s internal systems.

San-Francisco based startup Navdy Inc which makes the tiny head-up display for the cars was founded in 2013 by Dough Simpson. Recently, the company has raised $20 million in Series A round of funding. The round was led by Upfront Ventures and participated by Formation8, Qualcomm Ventures, Promus Ventures, Ludlow Ventures and Wareness.io. This is second round of funding after Navdy’s highly versubscribed seed round in August 2014 that raised $6.5 million. To improve the device further, the company has delayed shipment of the product which was supposed to be out by 2014. The company is still taking pre-orders at $299 with the retail price stated to be $499.

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2.Cruise Automation:

Cruise Automation is the first company to make cars drive by themselves for as less as $10,000. The RP1 highway autopilot system can be installed on any car, as long as it is a 2012 or newer Audi A4 or S4. The technology uses sensors and data to understand a vehicle’s surrounding and automatically make quick adjustments to speed, steering and braking to help drivers avoid collisions or getting tickets, but it still requires someone at the wheel. The system uses millimeter-wave RADAR, stereo cameras, GPS and inertial sensors to take partial control of steering, braking and acceleration, to keep the driver in the lane and at a safe distance from a car in front of theirs. If the car find itself in front of an obstruction, the system automatically brings down the speed of the car or to a full stop. The system has three pieces – a roof-mounted piece, a piece that goes in the trunk and actuators that are installed into the driver-side footwell.



San-Francisco based company and founded in 2014, Cruise is funded by Y Combinator and Signia Venture Partners among others, expects to start installation of its technology in 2015, says the founder Kyle Vogt, though the product is fully functional today. The company has just 10 employees and so lot rest on the Vogt’s shoulders. But there are no worries, only confidence and cool. He want to participate in even more than the suggested number of third-party safety and quality testing exercises before allowing the company to put its technology in customers’ car and on the open road, Vogt’s says. Among all the cars, the company chose Audi for its appeal as a ‘young, edgy and brand.’ The startup will soon begin to accept a very limited quantity of pre-orders via GetCruise.com. Early birds get free installation along with the product.

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3.Zubie:



The Startup Zubie has introduced the safety-enhancing technology that tracks cars’ performance and location to offer suggestions for more efficient, responsible driving. It has a connected-car app and service that makes driving and car-ownership fun and social for consumers. The app facilitates easy location tracking of family members, driver-scoring, location-based alerts and private location-sharing during trips with friends for free. Zubie consists of many parts – a hardware found below the steering wheel that plugs into the OnBoard Diagnostic port of a car, mobile GPRS modem that connects it to the Zubie cloud and send information to phone app. It has an upgraded paid solution that included Zubie Key, a small device that plugs into the car and delivers real-time engine health monitoring and phenomenal insight into upcoming maintenance costs and car value.



Founded by Tim Kelly in 2012, the company picked up $10 million in a Series A round led by Castrol InnoVentures, Comporium and Open Air Equity. The company was incubated by Best Buy and Castrol InnoVentures that gave way to the funding. Very recently, the company has declared its partnership with AutoNation, one of the largest independent automotive retailers in the US. As part of the partnership all AutoNation vehicles sold in their franchises all over USA can be outfitted with a Zubie device that will notify customers in real-time regarding the issues relating to engine performance, battery life and other maintenance related items. “The promise to the end-user is if I, AutoNation, know what’s happening in real-time about your car from a diagnostic perspective we can better help you maintain that car,” said Kelly.

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4.Dash:

The Startup Dash’s app converts any car built after 1996 into a smart car. The product includes a combination of a hardware device and smartphone application that provides real-time feedback on driving, trip logs, access to vehicle diagnostics, a map showing where the cheapest gas is nearby and even social features. Dash automatically tracks data about the users driving habits and the car’s wear and tear to keep one safe and save one’s money. The hardware involves a OBD device one can purchase from either within the Dash mobile application or the Dash homepage and the company’s software will work with any Bluetooth-enabled OBD device. Though the software works in any device, the company suggests it is better to use a premium hardware for better quality and connection reliability.

Founded by Edis and Brian Langel, Dash, around July last year, was seeking to raised $1,500,000 with a $5,000,000 with this equity crowdfunding campaign recently launched on AngelList. At that moment, the startup has already secured over $1M toward its fundraising goal. Previously, the seven person New York based company has raised an undisclosed seven-figure round of seed funding from Techstars, VCs (with car manufacturers as LPs), and angels including Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowlet, Makerbot co-founder and CEO Bre Pettis, Dave Morin and others. Dash app which was only available for USA regions only has included international version in Canada, Europ, Middle East and Africa. The company’s competitors include Automatic, Zubic, Carvoyant, CarMD, Torque and Car Doctor.

Dash

5.Metromile:

Metromile is a startup that is already upending industrial-age assumptions about what ‘insurance’ should be. Metromile’s business model introduces risk evaluation to its insurance package with the Metronome device. However, it does not demand to order insurance from the Metromile to get the Metronome device which helps to save fuel, find parking spot for free. Metromile is basically a variably-priced, pay-per-mile car insurance provider that charges customers for the actual miles they drive. They charge customers for the actual miles they drive, not a flat rate that forces low-mileage driver to subsidize high-mileage drivers. Using the Metronome device in the car, Metromile creates a rich experience around driving with an interactive iOS app, android app and web dashboard. If one drives less than 10,000 miles a year and live in a city environment, chances are he will save a lot of money using Metromile. The little device, Metronome, will collect valuable data and information-first entrepreneur knows making the device goldmine of such data.

Brain child of David Friedberg (co-founder and CEO of Metromile) and based in San Francisco, Metromile is the only insurance product on the market that charges by the mile on a retroactive basis. Most of the devices require data subscription fee but Metromile is funding the devices through its insurance product. Right now, the device works only in California, Washington, Oregon and Illinois and the insurance is available only in Washington, Oregon and Illinois. The insurance plans begins at a base rate of $20 to $45 per month, plus 2 to 5 cents per mile. Apart from insurance, it also includes roadside assistance. Recently, Metromile and Uber has partnered and introduced personal/commercial per-mile car insurance plan for Uber drivers that uses sellular gadgets that plugs into their vehicle’s diagnostic port. It connects with Uber to recognize when the driver are working and are covered by Uber’s insurance and charges them per-mile when they drive for personal use. It can reduce insurance prices for driver who drive professionally.

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6.High Mobility

High Mobility is a smart connected car technology startup focusing on solving proximity sensing and car interaction for wearable devices. With the High Mobility’s hardware installed in a car, a driver could park next to a parking meter, get out of the car and walk away. Parking ticket is paid by the car through the driver’s smartphone and a dealer-installed High Mobility hardware. The startup claims the interaction is seamless for the user and their product solves a big challenge for the automobile manufacturers. It is a small connective device installed at a dealership or factory. It consists of many functions powered by Bluetooth 4.0. The company has tied up with iBeacon to make the payments and the smartphone’s screen is used for interaction.

Founded in 2013, the startup participated in Startup Bootcamp Berlin and received $15k in funding and another $7000 from a design contest. It also received $19.3k funding through seed funding. The company was founded by Kevin Valdek and Risto Vahtra. The company has a strong relationship with Mercedes-Benz and is on a look out for other companies to partner with. The key advantage of the device is that it can work with almost every car. The system of the device has the ability to control locks, climate system and even preset cars based on the smart phone that is active on the account. Another good feature of the device is that it is update-able.

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