Drivent LLC announced that it is certified to test autonomous vehicles in Washington State along with market frontrunners like Waymo, NVIDIA Corporation and Torc Robotics. The self-driving technology startup had been in stealth mode for three years.
Drivent’s proprietary technology will be crucial for the future of driving automation, as it includes fire protection, communication systems of its technology to be used in self-driving vehicles when they are deployed en masse across the world. Drivent holds 11 patents and has 25 patent applications. Its technologies are designed to detect fires in autonomous vehicles and automatically pull them over; communicate with a call center to assist the police, tow-truck operators, or other people as needed; and improve the user experience.
— Drivent (@Drivent_Tech) May 7, 2019
Wes Schwie, co-founder of Drivent stated, “While searching for an opportunity to make a difference, we learned that more than 37,000 people are killed by car accidents each year in just the United States,” adding, “we also learned that around 94% of car accidents are caused by human errors that could be eliminated by self-driving vehicles. The opportunity to save lives by promoting the adoption of self-driving vehicles was exhilarating.”
Eric Wengreen, who is a Stanford graduate and the co-founder of Drivent said, “While the autonomous industry focused on collision-avoidance technology, we focused on developing technology to overcome the non-collision barriers to adoption of autonomous vehicles.”
Statistics indicate that the U.S. fire departments respond to about 168,000 vehicle fires per year. Self-driving cars can use internal combustion engines or electric motors. Cars switching to electric motors could reduce this number significantly.
Drivent’s technologies can detect an indication of a fire and automatically alert emergency personnel via cellular communication. Some of Drivent’s systems can also be used in human-driven cars and would add another layer of safety to cars on the roads today. Drivent’s technologies mainly focus on SAE Level 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles.
When asked about how could Drivent’s systems help for dealing with drunken drivers/passengers Schwie replied that Drivent has been developing a suite of impaired driving detection products with the aim of reducing human error in driving. As to when the technology will be available for use, Schwie said the company aims within the next year adding that their offerings are something that big players in this space will ideally integrate into their existing platforms.
Accountability in case of a road incident involving autonomous vehicles remains ambiguous. If, for example, a police officer pulls over a vehicle, he would have to know who to speak with, Drivent’s technology will connect the officer with a vehicle representative located at a centralized call center, trained to handle and clear up situations that arise on the road.
Drivent’s technological features include ensuring dead phone batteries do not result in people being stranded without a ride; enabling autonomous vehicles to accurately predict when and where a person will want a ride; and providing additional capabilities that enhance the autonomous vehicle user experience.
Drivent’s technologies’ ultimate goal is to make autonomous driving safer for humans and integrate it into the system.
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