Having worked in stealth mode for three years, startup Drivent has unveiled proprietary technologies that will detect a fire in an autonomous vehicle and then cause the AV to automatically pull over to enable passengers to exit.
Eric Wengreen, Drivent co-founder (above), explained how the company has taken a different approach to others in the AV sector: “Years ago, we realized that encouraging widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles would require more than just making cars that don’t crash. While the autonomous industry focused on collision-avoidance technology, we focused on developing technology to overcome the non-collision barriers to adoption of autonomous vehicles.”
There are approximately 168,000 vehicle fires per year in the USA, and according to Drivent, without the technology to detect and respond to a fire in an AV, the vehicle would continue driving, putting passengers at risk. Drivent’s technologies facilitate successful interactions with police officers and others by enabling a vehicle representative, based at a centralized call center, to speak with police officers, tow-truck operators, road-rage instigators, and other people outside the vehicle, as required.
Jim Burch, president of the USA’s National Police Foundation, said, “Officers expect to find and speak with a person when they pull over or otherwise interact with an autonomous vehicle. Without Drivent’s technology, an officer would have limited options for resolving the issue, which could lead to significant time loss for public safety and occupants as well as more significant consequences, including potential impoundment.”
Drivent’s technologies also make autonomous vehicles far more convenient, according to the company. Features include ensuring dead phone batteries do not result in people being stranded without a ride; enabling autonomous vehicles to accurately predict when and where a person will want a ride; and providing additional capabilities that enhance the autonomous vehicle user experience.
Co-founder Wes Schwie (below) said, “Many of Drivent’s solutions will have the greatest impact not as standalone systems, but rather as elements integrated into the products and services of much larger players in the autonomous vehicle market.” For this reason, he explained, “Drivent exited stealth mode to collaborate with industry leaders. We are excited to meet with additional companies.”
The self-driving technology startup also announced that it is now certified to test autonomous vehicles in the state of Washington.