Waycare is in the midst of its first real-world pilot tests to predict traffic accidents and congestion. Now, the startup has raised $2.3 million to set up more tests.
The company’s seed round, led by Spider Capital and the German energy company Innogy SE, will support Waycare’s efforts to set up multiple pilot projects around the U.S. as well as in Europe and Asia. The firm scored its first test pilot earlier this year with the city of Las Vegas, and has been in talks with a few other cities to try similar projects.
The money will also help Waycare expand its Israel-based development team and seek out data-sharing partnerships with equipment manufacturers and telematics and navigation firms.
The company’s product relies on data from many different sources, including in-vehicle navigation, traffic signal timers and weather monitoring, to pull together a real-time picture of road conditions across a city. Then it uses artificial intelligence to calculate the factors most likely to lead to congestion and accidents, identify when those things happen and notify transportation officials.
“We are witnessing rapid changes in the automotive industry specifically with the amount and quality of data that we can collect from vehicles,” said Noam Maital, Waycare’s chief executive officer, in a press release. “This will only continue to grow as autonomous vehicles are introduced. However, cities lack the tools and resources necessary to help them harness these meaningful data sources in order to improve the quality of life of their residents and their residents' daily commute.”
The idea is to give transportation officials and police real-time situational awareness and predictive power so that they can choose what actions to take and where to station their resources. Maital’s vision is to prevent both traffic jams and accidents.
It’s an idea with far-reaching implications. Not only would the power to predict accidents help people on the road, it could help guide transportation spending. And it’s also something the international transit IT firm Cubic Transportation Systems is looking at — as it rolls out a cloud version of its real-time passenger information system, Cubic is considering adding traffic accident prediction capabilities to better assess when buses will arrive at their next stops.
Following Spider and Innogy SE on the seed round was Goldbell Investments, Zymestic Solutions, SeedInvest, the Slovakian private equity firm janom, and the UpWest Labs accelerator, which WayCare participated in earlier in 2017.