With millions in new investments and two new board members, the Israeli company’s cloud-based AI platform is preparing to expand across North America and further develop its traffic-safety platform.
Waycare, an Israeli company whose AI-based platform predicts traffic collisions, is preparing to expand its North American reach with an infusion of cash and a few new board members.
Today the company announced $7.25 million in Series A funding led by SJF Ventures, plus other investments from UpWest, Next Gear Ventures, Innogy, Spider Capital, Goldbell, Zymestic Solutions and Janom. One of SJF Ventures’ partners, Dan Geballe, is one of two new members to the Waycare Board of Directors. The other is James Ray, formerly a senior adviser to the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
“As someone who has been working in the public sector for many years, what is exciting about Waycare is that they can be a key to enabling the public sector to adapt to the changes that are coming our way,” Ray said in a statement.
A news release from the company said new investments will go toward expanding Waycare’s footprint in North America and Europe, as well as improving its cloud-based platform. First piloted around Las Vegas in 2017, Waycare’s eponymous cloud software collects data from in-vehicle sources and elsewhere in a city’s existing transportation network, then uses artificial intelligence to predict where collisions are likely to occur. With this information, local departments of transportation can station police vehicles with flashing lights nearby, for example, or put messages on digital highway signs telling drivers to slow down.
The two-month pilot in Las Vegas appeared to reduce primary collisions by 17 percent, and by extension probably reduced the number of secondary collisions, or crashes that involve cars slowing down because of another crash. There were caveats to this trial — the test period was much shorter than the control period and did not encompass traffic during the Stanley Cup, which might have increased the rate of traffic collisions in the control period — but Waycare took it as a success, subsequently expanding to Florida, Ohio and other states. It’s also looking to launch in Europe and Israel in 2020.
“Transportation agencies across the world are grappling with the burden of improving traffic safety and congestion that affects their city’s residents, while at the same time meeting the demands of rapid changes in the mobility sector,” Waycare CEO Noam Maital said in a statement. “Waycare is fortunate to be at the crossroads of serving the public sector while partnering with the wider mobility ecosystem to help cities and states build the next generation of transportation operating systems.”
Using data to predict traffic collisions isn’t a new idea, but it has evolved as various agencies and companies have tried it. The Texas Department of Transportation was working with MicroStrategy in 2008 to analyze decades of old traffic data; the city of San Jose joined the international Vision Zero initiative in 2016 to identify problematic corridors and speeds; Tennessee Highway Patrol saw limited success in 2017 when it started using historical data to predict traffic collisions; a company in Utah called Numetric released a pair of analytical tools, a safety suite and a design suite, in November 2018 to identify high-risk areas and possible precautions; and researchers at the University of Central Florida have been interrogating crash, traffic, weather, geometric and other data for the same purpose.