Seeing Machines wins Apple for Back-up Driver Monitoring

According to my sources Seeing Machines will be supplying its new Backup-driver Monitoring System (Guardian BdMS) to Apple and is very likely to win GM Cruise, possibly Waymo also.

In the typically low key fashion in which Seeing Machines delivers good news to the market the announcement was put out more like a product release than an RNS. Hidden away in the third paragraph it stated: “Seeing Machines has signed an agreement with one customer and is in advanced discussions with a number of companies at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.”

This is outstandingly good news for the AIM-listed minnow and means Silicon Valley has followed global car manufacturers (GM, BMW, Mercedes and Ford) in recognising Seeing Machines’ driver monitoring technology as best in class.

Apple, in typical fashion, has not replied to any of my emails on this subject but its secrecy in such matters relating to Apple Car is well known.

As stated in my previous blog post, I still expect wins with FCA and Toyota to be announced in due course.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

Seeing Machines wins BMW contract worth between US$125m to US$250m

I’m convinced that Seeing Machines has recently been awarded a contract worth more than US$25m a year by BMW to supply its driver monitoring system in its cars, some of which should be available for sale by 2020.

From discussions with auto industry contacts, I believe the contract is for many forthcoming models (several million cars) and the DMS is likely to eventually end up being standard issue within the instrument cluster of all BMW cars. Given that BMW sells roughly 2.3m cars a year and that Seeing Machines would get approximately US$30 a car, that makes a potential annual income of US$57m a year by 2020, rounded down to US$50m.

Given that in the auto industry the lifetime of a model lasts for roughly 5 years, the lifetime value of this contract should be at least US$125m, though it could be as much as US$250m.

When this news is officially announced I’d expect broker upgrades to be the order of the day.  FinnCap currently has an estimate for full year revenues of A$141m for 2020 and Canaccord Genuity has an estimate of A$128.5m — of which only A$24m is from auto!

Aptiv

There has been no official announcement of the contract win aside from an announcement by Aptiv on page 9 of this document that I take as confirmation. 

When questioned, Aptiv were unwilling to discuss any details, saying: “…unfortunately we have nothing incremental approved to share beyond what’s in the document.”

Given the scale of BMW’s operations, the BMW contract may be shared with at least one other Tier 1 but no others that I’ve contacted are keen to confirm or deny involvement.

BMW itself remained rather coy. Asked how it plans to solve the problem of driver disengagement and the associated issue of ensuring the driver is alert and ready to take back control from the car, whether it would use a driver monitoring system and who would supply it, a spokesman said: “So far we have only announced that interior cameras will play a role ensuring the vaild point you mention. Details on functions and suppliers have not yet been announced. We have to ask for a little more patience.”

Seeing Machines was contacted but declined to comment.

Winning BMW so soon after it won a huge contract with Mercedes last year truly cements Seeing Machines’ Fovio driver monitoring system as the leading DMS in the auto industry. The premium choice for premium auto manufacturers.

Note that General Motors Cadillac already features Seeing Machines Fovio DMS.

Not only is Seeing Machines working hand in glove with Autoliv and Bosch, but I believe its DMS is now being used by LG (Mercedes), Aptiv and probably others that I don’t know about.

Driven by regulatory changes many other car OEMs are going to be tendering for DMS systems and Seeing Machines is set to be the industry standard. A standard that i’m consistently told no other company can yet match.

Thus, I’m confident that Fovio is likely to be chosen by many other global OEMs as they gear up new, increasingly semi-autonomous, vehicles for production over the next year.

Valuation

By my reckoning the automotive side of Seeing Machines must already be worth £1bn and with every new win is only increasing in value.

Moreover, there’s a strong case for arguing the rest of the business (Fleet, Aviation, Rail and Off-road)  is worth another £1bn.

Given the success of Seeing Machines in winning large contracts and the increasing momentum of M&A activity in the auto industry I believe it’s only a matter of time before a bid is forthcoming from an industry player. Let’s hope the price soon reflects the value of the business.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines

Seeing Machines secures premium German car manufacturer

Seeing Machines (AIM: SEE) has today announced that it has won a contract with a premium German auto manufacturer in conjunction with a major Tier 1 auto manufacturer.

This is a further striking endorsement of its Fovio Driver Monitoring technology, which is already in the new Cadillac CT6’s Supercruise feature – the car was launched by General Motors this autumn in the US.

The awarded models are scheduled for mass production in 2020. My own guess is the manufacture is probably Mercedes. If it is, the tech is likely to debut in its top of the range S series, which is scheduled for a relaunch in 2020.

Motoroids wrote an interesting article about the Mercedes S Class 2020/21 a few months back.

However, it could equally well be Volkswagen with whom Seeing Machines have been working — they exhibited together at CES in 2017,  or even BMW as there is some evidence to suggest Seeing Machines have been working with them.

What is more important than the actual name of the manufacturer is how much money it is likely to bring into this very undervalued small cap tech play in one of technologies hottest sectors; semi and fully autonomous driving.

This is what Seeing Machines had to say: “According to previously given guidelines, this may be considered a Medium value program (from A$10M-A$25M revenue) based on the initial included models and lifetime volume projections, with the potential to become a Large value program in time (>A$25M revenue).  It is worth noting that volume projections can change materially, up or down, and as is typical in automotive industry contracts, there are no guarantees beyond engineering milestone payments.”

For me, this contract from another of the world’s leading car companies establishes that the Fovio Driving Monitoring system is best in class. Moreover, given the contract could be worth as much as 50% of Seeing Machines current market cap, it looks very undervalued.

Certainly, Seeing Machines seems very confident, as  Nick DiFiore, General Manager of Automotive at Seeing Machines, commented: “We are proud to be awarded this benchmark DMS program from both an OEM and Tier 1 with state-of-the art requirements.  Their confidence in us is a testament to the leading-edge nature of our FOVIO DMS technology, which is the culmination of years of innovative development and hard-earned Automotive application expertise by our team.  We look forward to delivering this leading-edge DMS program and further delivering our new FOVIO platform products to our growing Automotive customer base worldwide.”

Lorne Daniels, analyst with house broker FinnCap, believes that Seeing Machines is now the “go-to supplier for DMS in automotive”.

In a note published today, Daniels wrote: “Euro NCAP’s recent announcement mandating DMS as a key criterion for vehicle safety has sharpened the timeline and focus for OEMs; it takes years to design a model and if they want a 5-star rating after 2020 they will need to integrate a good DMS. Fovio is proven, reliable and quite literally, already on the road; a natural choice for the global automotive industry.”

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.