Most self-driving vehicles boast an array of sensors that aid them in navigating patchy pavements. However, some firms are still convinced that such systems are not adequate for handling potholes, buckling pavement, faded markers among other road-based hazards on their own.
This situation poses a great issue in nations such as the US, whereby the yearly revenue needed for maintaining bridges, highways, and roads is approximately $185 billion per year, based on the reports from the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. On the contrary, the current yearly spend is estimated to be less than half of the annual investment, nearly $68 billion.
Tactile Mobility, previously known as MobiWaze, an Israeli-based firm that was established back in 2012, created a solution it refers to as “tactile sensing.” The solution works by producing real-time, actionable insights through gathering non-visual data including gear position, paddle position, RPM, wheel angle and wheel speed and conducting complex analytics.
Recently, Tactile Mobility unveiled a public financing exercise that catapults the sum of money raised to a staggering $9 million. During this announcement, the company disclosed the appointment of Chief Executive Officer Amit Nisenbaum, who is not only a venture advisor at Boston Consulting Group but also Better Place’s former head of strategic alliances.
“When you drive, you can feel the tires as they slip on ice or sense the engine is having trouble despite it not registering with your car’s vision-based electronic systems. This missing tactile sense is a major hurdle in the development of advanced and autonomous vehicles and a significant limitation when it comes to mapping road condition data that has been ignored until now,” said Tactile Mobility Chief Executive Officer Amit Nisenbaum.
Towards that end, Tactile Mobility’s platform takes the insights and feeds them back into vehicles’ onboard computers, which helps in delivering informed driving decisions. The data is not only analyzed but also uploaded to the cloud, whereby it contributes to a consistently upgraded crowdsourced map, specifically that of global road conditions.
The mapping service was released earlier this year in Haifa, Israel, with plans of rolling out in more cities in the oncoming months. What’s more, the service has already gathered about 10 million kilometers or 6.2 million miles worth of road data in four continents.
“We’re excited to pioneer these services and are encouraged by the remarkable traction we’ve already gained. We look forward to continuing to play a significant role in shaping the future of these industries,” said Nisenbaum.
Apart from Tactile Mobility, another startup WaveSense ’s ground-penetrating radars(GPR) are set to make self-driving cars safer. They utilize a 12-element antenna array in sending very high-frequency electromagnetic pulses up to a maximum of 10 feet underneath the ground.
In fact, it applies machine learning algorithms to car controllers, camera feeds and sensors with an aim of measuring aspects such as friction and grip in real time. Also, there are applications such as RoadBounce that detect road sections that are problematic by leveraging Smartphone gyroscope and accelerometer data alone.
“We’ve managed to build some incredible technology that will have a monumental impact on ride safety, efficiency, and experience. With Amit joining our team, a more educated market vis-a-vis the importance of tactile data, a slew of paid POCs and partnerships, and $9 million in funding, we’re transitioning from great concept to large-scale tech standard, and that’s a win for companies and consumers alike,” said Tactile Mobility’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer Boaz Mizrachi.