The Volvo Cars Tech Fund is the investment arm of Volvo Cars, shuffling money to companies that Volvo believes can have an important impact on the future of the automotive industry. Thus far, its investments have been limited to companies from the US and Europe, but now, it’s bringing two Israeli startups into the fold.
Volvo Cars announced on Monday that it has invested in two Israel-based startups. Each is involved in a separate part of the vehicle’s life, with one focused on initial quality, while the other caters to the moments immediately following a crash.
The first investment is in a company called UVeye. The startup has created a system that automatically inspects vehicles for damage, including dents and scratches. Volvo believes this tech could one day be used to conduct full exterior inspections of vehicles leaving the factory, which has the chance to improve the quality of Volvo vehicles before they ever reach dealers, but it could also be used at dealers, too. The automaker hopes to have a pilot program with UVeye’s tech up and running in Sweden later this year.
The second investment went to a company called MDGo. Specializing in what it calls “medical artificial intelligence,” MDGo’s technology combines real-time data from a car crash with a library of medical knowledge. It puts those two things together to, hopefully, make quick predictions on what kind of injuries first responders should expect when they arrive at a crash site. A cloud platform would then distribute that information to emergency personnel to improve the likelihood of a victim’s post-crash recovery.
The Volvo Cars Tech Fund has been active since 2018. In that short span of time, it’s already invested in a variety of startups, including Luminar, which produces lidar sensors for use in self-driving cars. It’s also invested in Varjo, which manufactures AR headsets that the automaker will use to test interfaces during vehicle development. Volvo also joined BMW with an investment in Zum, a ride-sharing company that provides rides for children to and from school and extracurricular activities.