SmartDrive Raises Capital, Rolls Out Distracted Driving Technology

At the American Trucking Association Management Conference in Orlando, FL, this week, San Diego’s SmartDrive Systems announced that Michelin North America has led a new investment round in the company, though SmartDrive wouldn’t say how much it has raised.

SmartDrive, founded in 2004, specializes in dashboard video cameras and related analytic technology to identify dangerous driving behavior. The telematic technology is intended to help fleet managers reduce risk by coaching operators to be safer drivers.

In a separate announcement, SmartDrive said it has introduced a new line of inside-the-cab sensors to assess a driver’s level of distraction. The sensors monitor such driver cues as head and eye movements, as well as mobile phone use. If the technology determines a driver is distracted, inattentive, or drowsy, it can send a notification to fleet managers to intervene.

Michelin North America, based in Greenville, SC, designs and makes tires for automobiles, airplanes, farm equipment, trucks, and other vehicles. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, road maps, and atlases.

Existing investors New Enterprise Associates, Oak Investment Partners, and WABCO joined Michelin in the SmartDrive investment round. The company previously raised $50 million in 2015, and $47 million in 2012. The Seattle venture research firm PitchBook estimates the San Diego company has raised about $191 million.

SmartDrive said Michelin’s investment would be used to continue the expansion of its strategy for fleet telematics and mobility services, and fuel its continued growth in video analytics and transportation intelligence.

SmartDrive, which uses video clips of actual driving incidents in its tutorials, says it has compiled and analyzed the world’s biggest catalog of more than 200 million risky-driving events.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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