People queue at rental car desks at the international airport in Munich.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MICHAEL DALDER)
British-Dutch energy giant Shell has made its first investment in an Israeli start-up, backing Ravin.AI, an artificial intelligence-powered vehicle condition inspection platform.
The Haifa and London-based start-up announced on Tuesday the completion of a $4 million seed round, led by PICO Venture Partners, with participation from Shell’s corporate investment arm Shell Ventures and automotive entrepreneur Adam Draizin.
Primarily targeting car rental companies and dealers, Ravin uses patent-pending computer vision and machine learning technology to detect and analyze vehicle damage with standard, off-the-shelf cameras.
The technology can detect more damage than humans can, Ravin says, while significantly reducing inspection costs. According to the company, car owners and insurers suffer nearly $50 billion in annual losses on processing and overpaying for damages often caused by others.
“Ravin will use the funding to continue growing its R&D team in Israel, develop into new markets, and further build its vehicle condition platform to serve more verticals such as car sales and insurance,” Ravin CEO Eliron Ekstein told The Jerusalem Post.
Using camera footage acquired through CCTV cameras or a mobile phone, Ravin’s technology creates a 360-degree view of the vehicle with accurate damage detection. The platform requires minimal training data for deployment on new vehicle types.
Commercial partners in the US and Europe are currently using the company’s platform, including Avis’ Heathrow Airport car rental location.
“Ravin creates a new, frictionless experience for car rental customers, who could enjoy a fast check-in and check-out in airports without worrying or arguing about pre-existing damages,” said Ekstein.
“The car rental companies themselves – or any fleets, really – would benefit from accurate damage detection, vehicle condition documentation and excellence in fleet management – keeping more vehicles on the road rather than waiting for repairs.”
Ravin has been backed since its inception by Shell through the gas and oil giant’s New Energies division, which seeks to identify commercial opportunities in fast-growing parts of the energy industry.
“Shell is constantly looking to invest and incubate the best ideas to provide new services and added value to our customers,” said Shell New Energies VP for Digital Businesses Roger Hunter.
“We will continue to seek opportunities to work with the team to bring Ravin.AI to our network of customers.”