UVeye’s ‘MRI for cars’ system brings GM’s $100 million startup, CarMax

Image Credits: UVeye

UVeye’s automated vehicle inspection technology may have started as a security threat detection system, but the six-year-old Israeli startup has found serious interest and investment from the automotive sector.

The company, which uses a combination of computer vision and machine learning to create a system that can quickly and accurately inspect vehicles, has raised $100 million in a Series D funding round led by Hanaco VC, a venture capital firm based in New York and Tel Aviv. Existing investors GM Ventures, CarMax, WR Berkley Corporation, FIT Ventures LP and Israeli institutional investors also participated in the round, which raised its valuation to about $800 million, according to a source who spoke to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity.

Since its founding in 2016, the company has raised $200 million in investment capital.

“UVeye saw the opportunity in 2019 as we saw more and more vehicles having mechanical issues in the undercarriage, so even though the systems were used for security, the need was very clear,” said CEO and co-founder Amir Hever in an email to TechCrunch. “The first commercial use case was actually supporting and partnering with OEMs as part of the new vehicle supply chain, we have since expanded and today we support the full vehicle life cycle which includes the dealership sector, used cars and auctions, insurance companies and merchant fleets.’

Now UVeye is doubling down on its automotive bet. The company, which employs about 200 people and is based in New Jersey and Tel Aviv, will use the new funding to begin manufacturing its inspection systems in North America and accelerate sales growth. The company previously announced commercial agreements with General Motors, Volvo Cars USA and CarMax to bring UVeye technology to their wholesale networks.

“Automated vehicle inspection, enabled by advanced computer vision and AI, is in its early innings but will completely transform the automotive industry,” noted Lior Prosor, partner at Hanaco VC, in a prepared statement. “As electric and autonomous vehicles become more complex and fleets more difficult to manage, low-cost, high-frequency predictive maintenance will become an essential part of any automotive package.”

Hever said UVeye’s North American expansion will bring the inspection technology to thousands of dealerships, used car auctions and fleets in the region over the next three years. UVeye also has offices in Japan and Germany.

The company has developed — and now manufactures — three types of systems that can inspect new and used vehicles at dealerships, at auction or for large fleet operators in just seconds and while the cars, trucks and SUVs are in motion. The scanner underneath can detect frame damage, missing parts or leaks, and its tire system can identify brand and technical specifications, air pressure, tread depth and sidewall damage in seconds. Its third system provides a 360-degree external view that it can check sheet metal and other exterior body components such as bumpers, door locks, grills and windows, according to UVeye.

The CEO also sees a longer-term opportunity with robotic fleets.

“We definitely see our products as a necessary safety and predictive maintenance solution for autonomous fleets, as they will be on the road 24 hours a day and need continuous maintenance,” Hever told TechCrunch. “We are in contact and working with several companies in the fleet sector, some of the biggest players in the world and we should have some updates on the subject by the end of 2023. As we see the future, electric cars and autonomous vehicles will have all more and more sensors, we believe that combining the vehicle’s sensors and our capabilities will provide a better complete report on the vehicle’s condition.

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