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Drivent Reveals Self-driving Safety Products, No Longer in Stealth Mode

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【Summary】Drivent recently acquired certification from Washington state regulators to test driverless cars. This likely played an influential role in bringing the startup’s presence to light within the self-driving sector.

Michael Cheng    May 10, 2019 6:52 PM PT
Drivent Reveals Self-driving Safety Products, No Longer in Stealth Mode

Improving safety in autonomous vehicles starts with external sensors – but it doesn't end there. Due to numerous working components that underpin driverless platforms and the passive shift of the role of humans during rides (from drivers to passengers), it is also important to monitor what goes on inside the cars.

Such frequently overlooked requirements are the main focus of Drivent, a self-driving startup that aims to make autonomous vehicles safer. Based in Washington, the company is developing technology designed to actively check for potentially hazardous or risky conditions. The startup recently exited stealth mode, in order to build its presence in the growing industry through collaborations and partnerships.

Detection, Communication and Safety

Drivent's products thoroughly address driverless car-related incidents by first detecting the issue in a timely manner. Once the concern is verified, the system communicates the incident to passengers, first responders, police or tow-truck operators. In case of emergencies, the system may implement its own safety protocol, such as pulling the car over and advising passengers to exit when a fire is detected inside the cabin.

One of the startup's products ensure a passenger's mobile phone always has power. Should the system detect low battery, it will automatically notify an emergency contact or adjust the current route of the ride. Designed to prevent individuals from getting stranded on the road, this solution would also be applicable to an electric car's battery.

"Years ago, we realized that encouraging widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles would require more than just making cars that don't crash," said Eric Wengreen, Co-founder of Drivent.

"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."

In addition to safety systems, Drivent is developing software to make experiences with autonomous vehicles more seamless. For instance, the startup is working on features that allow cars to predict the schedules and transportation requirements of passengers. Such capabilities are geared toward commercial ride-hailing or robo-taxi businesses that utilize autonomous fleets.

For law enforcement groups, Drivent's products could help facilitate interactions, when humans are not present inside the vehicle (for example, when an autonomous car is summoned to pick up a passenger). Police would be directed to a registered point of contact, which could be a vehicle representative in a remote call center, depending on the situation. If left unaddressed, this issue may cause unwanted delays and bottlenecks in communities – a concern raised by Jim Burch, President of the National Police Foundation.

Exiting Stealth Mode

Founded in 2016, the business was operating in stealth mode for roughly three years. Drivent recently acquired certification from Washington state regulators to test driverless cars. This likely played an influential role in bringing the startup's presence to light within the self-driving sector. Other companies approved to test autonomous vehicles in the state include the following: NVIDIA, Waymo and Torc Robotics.

"Drivent exited stealth mode to collaborate with industry leaders. We are excited to meet with additional companies," highlighted Wes Schwie, Co-founder of Drivent.

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