According to an article in Electrek, automakers BMW, GM and Toyota are all investing in the same autonomous driving startup Nauto.
Launched by former Tesla engineers, Nauto’s technology relies mostly on a dashcam, but it is also uses a two-way system which monitors the driver as well; believed to be an important part of self-driving vehicles for level 3 and 4.
Level 5 autonomous driving is meant to be free of any input or attention from a driver, but level 3 and 4 would require a transition period between conditions in which the autonomous driving can and cannot drive. A certain level of attention would be required at that point, which is why people in the industry believe that driver-facing cameras would be needed.
The US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defined five different levels of autonomous driving in 2013. The NHTSA updated their policy in 2016 in the SAE International's J3016 document.
Nauto's dash cam is capable of recognizing the driver, keeping track of their eyes' gaze which consequently determines the driver's attention, or lack thereof, as well as detecting dangerous moments and evaluating the driver’s reaction to them.
Recently they announced the close of a $159 million Series B financing round, led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. and Greylock Partners. Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.
The company says that they will be using the money to deploy more Nauto units.