Thousands of dealerships will be checking cars for defects with technology from Israel’s UVeye.
UVeye was founded in 2016 by brothers Amir and Ohad Hever, the company’s CEO and COO respectively, to provide under-vehicle inspection solutions for security threats and smuggling attempts. It was later realized that the same technology could be used for detecting mechanical and safety-related issues.
The company’s original product, now called Helios, scans the vehicle’s undercarriage using five cameras. Artemis provides tire inspection, while Atlas offers a 360-degree scan for scratches, dents and more. The newer Atlas Lite is a more mobile version that fits into smaller facilities such as dealerships.
In 2018, Yaron Saghiv joined the company as a partner and the chief marketing officer. He has since relocated to New Jersey, alongside the CEO, to manage teams of workers located in the Garden State as well as Ohio and Tel Aviv.
“We offer a one-stop shop of products that can scan and check the vehicle externally,” Saghiv said. “The goal is to replace the less objective, less consistent, less efficient manual process.” Compared to lifting the vehicle and walking around it, the shift could not be less gradual.
“Everything related to image processing and machine learning needed a certain level of maturity to teach an algorithm how to find those defects by itself,” Saghiv said.
“We took the latest updates in AI, machine learning and computer vision and embedded them into this market. This is the time and the place for doing it.” The service is cloud-based, with a local server supporting the initial image processing.
“The algorithm isn’t catalogue-based, and doesn’t compare the vehicle to anything else,” Saghiv said. “It knows how to look at different parts of the vehicle. After seeing lots of vehicles at the component level, whether exhaust, tire sides, chassis, or any area under or around the vehicle, it knows what should ideally be there and marks anomalies regarding color, texture, size, etc.
“We have scanned motorcycles and golf carts. If we scanned a carriage, we’d still see its tires and what’s underneath it, but we might need to run enough carriages on the system to learn the exact attributes of specific areas.”
In 2019, UVeye raised $31 million in its Series B, headed by Volvo and Toyota Tsusho. Last year, CarMax and Hyundai Motors headed the company’s Series C, helping the company surpass $90 million in investments.
Today, UVeye has about 150 workers. During the pandemic, the company has switched from working mostly with automakers in their plants to dealerships, repair shops, auction houses and vehicle fleets, mostly in the U.S. The company’s devices have been installed at more than 150 sites, including about 100 U.S. dealerships.
The GM collaboration started with a strategic investment. The two companies are working on offering exclusive service and integration aid for all of GM’s dealerships, including more than 4,000 in the U.S. Last March, UVeye started a similar collaboration with Volvo, which is already bearing fruit with many installations.
GM and UVeye are also working on R&D in areas such as electric vehicles and internal cameras. “Electric vehicles have many less parts, but any damage means much more,” Saghiv said. “A hole or crack in the battery area can cost a lot of money.
“A module of cameras will be positioned inside the car as part of the flow of the system, so within seconds we’ll get an external image and internal 360-degree report that’s
easy to read, export or upload.”