Back in 2014, Andy Rubin, the grandfather of Android, ended his tenure at Google to do his own thing. The thing he ended up doing was starting up Playground Global, an investment firm that caters to modern tech and humanitarian efforts with an innovative twist. Using his deep pockets, Rubin and his people scout out promising hardware startups and give them funding and other resources to help give them a headstart. The latest lucky startup is Nauto, a data gathering outfit that focuses on automotive analytics and fleet management, using various cameras and sensors to grab the data they need and then sending it to relevant parties.
Nauto’s aim is to simplify and streamline fleet management to save man-hours and headaches, as well as money. The way it does this is by using various cameras and sensors in vehicles, as well as machine learning and A.I., to look for things like distracted drivers, details of accidents and other nuances of the road and send them instantly to concerned parties, such as fleet vehicle owners. After a fairly successful pilot launch in the San Francisco area, Nauto was looking to expand nationwide and see their technology end up in vehicles both manual and autonomous, from all of the automakers in the U.S. and perhaps the world. Naturally, this is the sort of venture that would take a bit of an investment to accomplish with any semblance of speed. In order to avoid seeing Nauto languish in obscurity and possibly die out before getting a chance to really shine, Playground Global handed them a $12 million leg-up.
Nauto’s services are already enlisted by some automakers the world over, but are bound to see wider adoption, quicker development and more agile problem solving with the kind of capital in hand that Playground Global decided to give them. The firm’s tech is still in development and their name isn’t quite a staple of the auto industry yet, but they’re working diligently at it. Nauto CEO Dr. Stefan Heck spoke about Nauto’s goals and methods, saying that “With solid financing in place and access to Playground’s facilities and braintrust, we’ll get there even faster.”