Tech Device To Make Your Car Autonomous
Epilog has created a windshield-mounted device that taps into a car’s computer and uses Artificial Intelligence to automate city and highway driving.
This device, called Sherpa, is designed to complement a driver’s existing cruise control system. Users simply plug in the device to their vehicle, activate cruise control, and Sherpa will control acceleration, steering, and braking.
At the same time, Sherpa evaluates a vehicle’s surroundings in real-time. This enables it to drive the vehicle in stop-and-go traffic, avoid obstacles on the road, and recognize stop signs and traffic lights.
Epilog is led by a strong team. CEO Michael Mojaver took his last company public, and Chief Technical Officer Lance Mojaver is an expert in super-resolution computational image processing and computer vision.
Its team of advisors include the former Director of Autonomous Vehicles at Sony (NYSE: SNE) and the former Director of Strategic Investment at Intel (Nadsaq: INTC).
Self-driving cars are the future. According to an August 2019 report from Research and Markets, the North American fully autonomous car market is projected to reach $52 billion by 2030.
But as auto manufacturers like BMW, Tesla, and Ford develop new self-driving vehicles, existing cars and trucks on the road could benefit from this technology.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, each year, traffic accidents due to distracted, drunk, or asleep drivers causes an estimated $836 billion of damage in the U.S. In 2017, more than 37,000 fatalities in America were due to these types of accidents.
Bottom line: there is a massive market opportunity for adding autonomous driving technology to existing vehicles, which can help reduce the amount and severity of accidents.
Epilog is capitalizing on this opportunity with its device that can transform a car, truck, or SUV into a self-driving vehicle in under 30 minutes. The company’s device is designed to support most vehicles made after 2010.
Sherpa has an 8K high-definition, HDR computational camera with built-in AI to provide human-quality perception. This system doesn’t require an internet connection to operate, as its AI processor handles everything locally, according to Epilog.
Over time, the Sherpa gets “smarter” by analyzing local road conditions and improving the quality of the ride for the driver. Furthermore, the system informs users of their driving habits and provides statistics that can be used to lower insurance costs.
Epilog sells its Sherpa devices for $999. Sherpas are sold direct to customers online and through retail locations. In addition, users can purchase a monthly subscription for $5, which enables them to replay past drivers and receive early access to new features. Additional future revenue could come from partnerships with auto manufacturers, who could install custom modules into new cars off the line.
Using this business model, Epilog achieves roughly 60% gross margins on its Sherpa units and 50% margins on its subscription offerings.
To date, the company has been granted eight patents for its device, and has several additional patents pending. Epilog projects to generate $5.5 million in revenue in 2020, and expects to be profitable by 2022.
To assist with its growth, the company has a partnership with Jabil (NYSE: JBL), one of the largest product manufacturers in the world. This company is capable of manufacturing up to 15,000 Sherpa units per day.
Michael has a track record of starting and managing technology companies.
Prior to starting Epilog, he was President and CEO of NIO Security (NYSE: NIO), a company developing intelligent video surveillance software for physical security applications. While in this position, he took the company public and helped it reach a market cap of $300 million.
Before that, he was President and CEO of Tempest Microsystems, a security company.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Physics from the University of California, San Diego, and studied Particle Physics at Cornell.
Lance is an expert in super-resolution computational imaging processes and computer vision.
Throughout his career, he has designed multiple production cameras and deployed software used in cameras that monitor schools, airports, and military bases. Notably, he managed the design of the world’s first AI-powered single-lens multi-sensor video camera.
In addition to his role with Epilog, Dieter is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Landshut in Germany. He teaches computer science, math, and physics.
For 10 years, he ran his own consulting business, Dieter Koller Engineering, focusing on the video security and computer vision markets.
Prior to that, he worked for seven years alongside Epilog Founder Michael Mojaver at NIO Security.
He earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Physics from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.
Marc has been with Epilog since 2016.
Before that, he was Director of Strategic Accounts at Treasure Data, a software company providing analytics for information stored in the “cloud.”
He gained sales experience as Director of Sales for Funambol, an open-source e-mail service, and a sales engineer with Insignia Solutions, a software vendor for PC computers.
Marc earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Computer Science from California State University.