Seeing Machines accelerates product development

It appears that Seeing Machines (AIM: SEE) is making good progress in bringing its world-leading, eye-tracking technology products to a variety of transport markets.

Re. today’s news that one of the world’s leading contract manufacturers has taken a 12% stake in Seeing Machines, investing A$12.8m (£6.7m) for 129.7m shares at 5.2p, a 20% premium to the recent share price, finnCap analyst Lorne Daniel commented: “In our opinion, VSI, as well as providing as a source of finance, offers a low-cost development and manufacturing partner for the road-going and other devices.”

Following on my previous interview with Ken Kroeger, I also wanted to add some interesting snippets from last Friday’s interview that might be of interest to those investing (or thinking of investing) in the company.


Seeing Machines has started designing the next generation fleet product (which it appears will be manufactured by VSI). It will not only be better than previous iteration (with a forward facing camera) but is expected to be about 40-45% cheaper.

In addition, Ken Kroeger revealed: “We are talking to 8 or 9 of the biggest telematics companies in the world now and getting quite a bit of interest from them.”

Asked whether the deal was going to be exclusive or non-exclusive, he replied: “It will be non-exclusive. I think we will have to offer some differentation; maybe it will be region by region. A lot of these companies have 400,000 – 500,000 units under management.”

As to the product Seeing Machines would offer them: “This next generation will remove all the things that the telematics companies have: they all have GPS, telecomms, power. So we are building more of a partner unit that will sit beside the telematics unit and only provide the services that it has to have as opposed to all the services inside. Again offering a lower cost product that will act as a companion to the telematics product.”

In terms of how this business model will operate, he explained: “I think where this is going, we will start looking at more channel type relationships, looking at our own business model almost like software as a service where they get a piece of hardware, pretty much like a mobile phone deal where you pay something for this low cost unit, it is installed and then we are scraping more of a monthly payment – parallel to the telematics model.”


Not only has a third trial just started on the railway side but Seeing Machines has also submitted a tender to the Transport Authority at a big US city for a safety solution for its commuter trains.

If successful, it will garner a lot of publicity and Ken believes: “It would really launch us into that rail space.”

Fortunately, the improved algorithms resulting from the auto development mean that SEE’s product doesn’t need a lot of re-engineering to be used for rail, thus reducing the cost and time of deploying it. As Kroeger explained: “It re-captures the faces now very quickly. The old mining technology, our previous set of algorithms, took 15-30 seconds to find and lock onto the face, whereas it now takes less than a second. So you can move away and come back without it losing its effectiveness.”

Indeed, its continually improving its algorithms, as Kroeger revealed: “One of the biggest changes inside the business is that there is this new science called Machine Learning. Instead of writing software to do something you write software that can learn as you feed it new information. So we started doing that about a year and a half ago.

“It was as part of a continual push to improve those algorithms, not only for performance but also in the automotive space you have to deliver them on cheaper and cheaper platforms. You have to continually drive your prices down, so in order to do that you go to cheaper and cheaper processing. You have to keep on improving them.”

I had been concerned whether Seeing Machines could maintain its technological lead in this area but it seems that it has the ability to maintain this ‘moat’ around its business.

Again, Kroeger enthused: “What makes us special, why it is so perfect for us is that there is no other company in the world where, literally we walk into the office in the morning and there are thousands of hours of video captured the day before of drivers. We take that information and it goes through a truthing process, where we have people looking at the video very very closely. They identify where people had a fatigue event and they can annotate that video to highlight key parts of the video. They can look at 1 minute before, 10 minutes before, 1 hour before and deep learning starts to look for tell-tale signs that are common across all users to develop a more predictive algorithm.”

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines

Seeing Machines gunning for automotive market with spin-off

Seeing Machines (AIM:SEE), the Australian software company specialising in eye-tracking technology using innovative algorithms, looks set for a significant uplift in its share price with confirmation that it is launching a spin-off in the US dedicated to serving the automotive sector by the end of June.

The stated intention is that the company will follow the Mobileye trajectory and eventually IPO in the US, a prospect which is likely to have both institutions and shrewd investors clamouring for shares over the next few months.

Despite recently announcing a maiden interim profit, its share price had been held back by concerns that it would need to raise more funds in order to serve demand for its world-leading technology.

However, in an exclusive interview with Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines, he revealed that the company is set to raise between US$50m to US$100m setting up a spin-off that will focus exclusively on the auto industry and develop a new hardware module.

This should produce 3 main benefits:

  1. It will take development costs out of the overall business.
  2. Enable Seeing Machines to move up the value chain by developing hardware (which will be manufactured by a third party). So, instead of getting $10 a car profit, it will be able to get between $25 to $35.
  3. Enable it to work with more Tier 1 suppliers and OEMs.

As part of this Seeing Machines has signed a memorandum of understanding with Takata, that officially ends its exclusivity deal with Takata.

The new company will be called ‘Fovio’ and is expected to be launched by the end of June this year.

Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines explained: “It will be a separate, US-based company. It will have about 40 people and take about 35% of the cost out of the parent company. The US company will own 100% of the Australian subsidiary that would house around 40 employees. Seeing Machines, and the current shareholders  will not have to reach into their pockets and write a substantial cheque but will own a substantial portion of that business.”

When pressed as to what “substantial portion” meant, he explained that is how he had to refer to it.

He added: “That business would be completely set up to start its march towards an IPO on the US board, mirroring Mobileye’s journey. It would have a separate board, separate management and we are in the process of recruiting a CEO in the US.”

As to the backers, he revealed: “The investors are at the big end of town (sic), we already have term sheets and they range from automotive OEMs, through the silicon companies into some of the other strategic industrial partners that we want.”

The new module is expected to come to market in late 2018, early 2019.

Until then, Seeing Machines will be continue working with Takata on delivering its software, as Kroeger explained: “The good thing is that we continue working with Takata. It is a new agreement not a divorce, so in the interim we will keep on delivering with Takata.”

Seeing Machines and Takata will be working on another 15 models for the same OEM that it has been working with to deliver a model that will be go into production late this year to be on sale next year. In addition, it is working on another 3-4 requests for quotations expected to happen this year.

That OEM is rumoured to be General Motors and the model that will first use Seeing Machines driver monitoring software, as part of it Supercruise feature, is said to be the Cadillac CT6.

The writer owns shares in Seeing Machines