Seeing Machines DMS ensures Ford BlueCruise is super safe

Last week I was privileged to be invited to test drive the 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E, whose BlueCruise hands-off driving system uses Seeing Machines’ Driver Monitoring.

I’m no motoring journalist but I have to admit the Mach-E delivered a very impressive experience using its ‘hands-off, eyes on’ assisted driving. Fortunately, I was in the company of Robert Llewellyn of Fully Charged Show fame. Aside from being good company, he’s very knowledgeable about electric cars and absolutely loved Mach-E SuperCruise, as I’m sure he’ll soon reveal in one of his videos.

This is from the presentation Ford supplied on the day:

  • BlueCruise builds on the capabilities of Ford’s Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control, which can automatically keep pace with traffic within legal speed limits, right down to a complete halt.
  • Hands-free mode allows drivers to drive with their hands off the steering wheel on approved Blue Zone sections of motorway, so long as they continue to keep their eyes on the road ahead – granting an additional level of comfort during long drives.
  • Before transitioning to hands-free driving, BlueCruise-equipped vehicles confirm that lane markings are visible, that the driver has their eyes on the road and that other conditions are appropriate.
  • The system uses animated cluster transitions featuring text and blue lighting cues to communicate that the feature is in hands-free mode, effective even for those with colour blindness.

Ford is rightly proud of the vehicle and its safety record. Indeed, the company boasts that during the 2 years BlueCruise has been available in the US its 200,000 users have covered 100m miles without incident.

What Ford isn’t shouting about is that it is Seeing Machines DMS that is the reason there haven’t been any incidents, as it ensures the driver’s eyes are on the road before, during and after BlueCruise is engaged.

Tactical move widens Seeing Machines’ moat

I think the Devant collaboration announced on the 20th June is a tactical move to widen Seeing Machines’ (AIM: SEE) moat. The data derived from real-life driver experience, known as its ‘river of gold’ has hitherto protected its AI-fuelled technological lead. Now it will be augmented by a sea of computer-generated edge cases from Devant, a specialist in synthetic data generation who is focused on the niche area of in-cabin monitoring. 

This should help Seeing Machines speed up the development of DMS and future in-cabin monitoring applications that are being demanded by the industry and regulators, putting Seeing Machines even further ahead of its competitors.

Far from an admission of weakness, this move demonstrates that Seeing Machines is doing all it can to maintain its leadership position — without breaking the bank. I don’t envisage any competitor overtaking SEE within the next 3 years. Indeed, part of me wonders if we might not end up acquiring Smart Eye or Cipia eventually. However, I’m betting Seeing Machines gets acquired within 2 years.

Auto RFQ delays 

I appreciate the lack of auto OEM contract wins being announced has rattled many of us. I think it is entirely down to OEMs waiting until the last possible moment to decide how sophisticated a DMS/OMS to use, in the light of tighter EuroNCAP regulations that are coming into force in 2026 but which still haven’t been totally tied down.

This has been confirmed to me following conversations with people at EuroNCAP — sadly, I find myself curiously unable to obtain basic information from official SEE channels following scoops that have upset some people. (But, like a would-be lover suffering from unrequited love, I am still fully invested in this brilliant company).

Q&A Euro NCAP

Here’s a brief Q&A with Euro NCAP:

I understand that the EuroNCAP 2025 protocols aren’t yet out. Can you tell me:

Q. When do you expect them to be published? 

A.  2026.

Q. What exactly is the process for their iteration and publication? Is a draft put around to the industry players for comment? If so, at what stage are they currently?

A. Currently under development, discussing the new requirements and test provisions alongside industry. 

Q. Have they been delayed, if so why?

A. Initially considered for 2025, we finally decided to switch to a 3-year cycle, so starting their implementation from 2026. This was to allow sufficient development timing for protocol development and giving industry sufficient headroom for technology adoption.

Q. What provisions regarding driver monitoring are they likely to include and how advanced are they likely to be? (I know there is a roadmap but I’m not sure about the precise details of it and how it applies to driver monitoring).

A.

  • Driving under influence (2026)
  • Optimised passive restraint systems based on occupant posture and/or size (2026)
  • Increased requirements for the precision of determination on non-reversible driver states e.g., drowsiness, unresponsive driver / sudden sickness (2026)
  • Specific provisions for Assisted and automated driving (2026)
  • Link of driver state to the way ADAS functions are tested and assessed e.g., FCW/LDW sensitivity (2026)
  • Cognitive distraction / mind wandering (2029/2032)

The writer holds stock in SEE.

Forever chemicals in UK drinking water

Despite a reluctance on the part of water companies and the government to admit the risks posed to the population, irrefutable proof now exists that our tap water contains unacceptably high levels of toxic ‘forever chemicals’.

I researched and wrote this article, Revealed: Toxic ‘forever chemicals found in tap water near airports, which Open Democracy was prepared to publish. I hope the instances investigated in this article will spark public debate.

They are only a fraction of the many examples that will eventually come to light as more journalists are able to spend the time to investigate further. 

We need far more disclosure from water companies and the government to take immediate action to clean up our drinking water, which is going to cost many billions of pounds. Personally, I believe the water companies and polluters, not the general public, should pay for the costs of this.

We need far tighter regulation of PFAS chemicals and industrial pollution in general, which have contributed to a hidden public health emergency. 

Sadly, PFAS chemicals have the greatest impact on children. Thus, for the very future of this country, we can no longer ignore this problem.

The scientists quoted in the article really deserve great admiration and support for their tireless work in bringing these issues out into the open.

I hope you also appreciate and support public interest journalism.

Play your part

If you want to find out the extent to which toxic PFAS chemicals are in your tap water, and what your water company is doing about it, I suggest you make a formal Environmental Information Request to your local water company. 

You could then contact your local paper and environmental groups to help disseminate this knowledge. Working together we can make a difference and contribute to the change we want to happen.

When should you sell a share?

Buying a share is easy, perhaps too easy, but when should you sell a share?

Well, renowned investor Philip Fisher explained all about this in his book Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. His focus on the qualitative aspects of value investing was a big influence on Warren Buffett and this book deserves a place on the bookshelf of every investor.

I’ve recently written an article for Reader’s Digest that explains when you should sell a share, drawing on the ageless wisdom of Philip Fisher. Enjoy!

Seeing Machines announces US$10m license deal with Collins Aerospace

Seeing Machines has announced its much anticipated Aviation license deal with Collins Aerospace, the world’s largest Tier 1 avionics company – as predicted here back in February

The “exclusive” and “perpetual” license deal provides a license payment of US$10m ($3m immediately and the $7m balance over the following 2 years). Collins will also pay Seeing Machines non-recurring engineering (NRE) payments to develop the solutions, evolving into potential future royalty payments as products are released to customers.

Although details as to what exactly is covered under the license were missing in the RNS, I’m hoping to eventually get some answers to those questions from the company. Or, maybe, we’ll be treated to a video of Pat Nolan taking a bow in conversation with Paul McGlone. (Certainly, both deserve a round of applause for this deal!). 

Muted response

What has really surprised me is the muted response from brokers covering the stock. None issued an upgrade, although they were all positive on the stock. Unbelievably, at the end of a huge week, the price has barely risen in response.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the 333-plane deal mentioned in the infamous ‘Italian Job’ video will materialise fairly soon. My guess is that some analysts are keeping their powder dry for that announcement. In the meantime, I can imagine paper-thin ‘Chinese walls’ mean some salespeople are telling their very special institutional clients to: “Buy, buy, buy”.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

Peel Hunt initiates coverage of Seeing Machines

Peel Hunt has initiated coverage of Seeing Machines with a 12p price target in a note published last week.

In the note Analyst Damindu Jayaweera argues: “With EU regulatory deadlines in mid-2024, we are starting to see a ramp-up in requests for quotes in the DMS market. Given its asset-light, flexible opex model, this should yield a Free Cash Flow (FCF) inflection. The well-funded balance sheet de-risks medium term.”

He went on to state: “We see further potential upside, based on the following potential catalysts:

  1. Signing an aviation licensing deal,
  2. Aftermarket product sales and accompanying monitoring contracts outstripping our estimates — as management is confident they will, and
  3. A shorter runway to there being more Seeing Machines-equipped cars on the road — again management sees upside beyond our royalties earnings estimates. 

We predict that the company will be FCF positive by 2026E, supported in the meantime by its cash reserves and the Magna facility.”

Later in the note (Page 10), Jayaweera provided more details on these potential catalysts. “First, signing an Aviation licensing deal would lead to a material uptick in revenues, as we have kept them immaterial in our forecasts. Second, Aftermarket product sales and accompanying monitoring contracts have the potential to outstrip our estimates: management is confident it can achieve over 10,000 unit sales in 2H23, >10% higher than our forecast. Finally, a shorter timeline to more equipped cars being on the road would generate upside, as we have been conservative with our royalty earnings assumptions given historical delays.”

For 2023 Jayaweera predicts sales of US$53.8m with FCF of minus $41m. Sales then continue rising to $118m in 2026, with FCF cash flow of $18m.

Certainly, long-suffering private investors should take heart that more and more analysts are starting to beat the drum for DMS and Seeing Machines in particular. 

The mantra we should be chanting is: “We weren’t wrong, we were just early”.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

Amati has Seeing Machines on watch

Amati Global Investors has revealed that it has Seeing Machines “on watch” in its latest video discussing Machine Vision.

In the video published today, Fund Manager David Stevenson is quoted at around 8 minutes saying that he has Seeing Machines on watch for its Smaller Companies Fund. However, he does state that the fact it is “early stage and loss-making” means he doesn’t consider it “oven-ready” for his fund.

I assume he is one of many fund managers adopting this view. The only issue they may face by deferring such an investment is that after huge contracts for Seeing Machines’ technology come through this year they’ll have difficulty purchasing stock at the current discounted price.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.

Panmure maintains ‘BUY’ rating with 14.6p target price

Panmure Gordon analyst Sanjay Jha has maintained his ‘BUY’ rating on Seeing Machines but lowered his price target from 16.8p to 14.6p.

In a note issued on 31st March he explained how he derived at this valuation: “We continue to use a Sum Of The Parts valuation model to value the shares, which now generates a 13% reduction in Target Price to 14.6p. The main detractors are Automotive, where we expect a lower market share by 2030 and the increase in the number of shares as the convertible loan is fully converted. This is partly offset by increased valuation for Fleet and Off-Road based on EV/sales multiples of SaaS companies.”

According to Jha’s analysis, in Automotive he now expects SEE to gain a third of the available market by 2030 as opposed to 50% previously as it seeks to avoid highly competitive tenders, especially in China. That said, he still calculates that for the year ending June 30th 2030, SEE will generate US$162.7m from Automotive – based on it having a 33.7% share of the market with 32.5m cars in production, 110.2m cumulatively, and an average royalty of US$5.

While it remains to be seen if Seeing Machines really does take less than 50% of the market – something I personally doubt – he does believe the company is fully funded to be cash positive by the second half of the 2025 financial year. 

Market perception

Interestingly, Jha begins the note by stating: “ff the shares have failed to respond to upbeat trading updates followed by a Capital Markets Day in New York, it could be due to lower appetite for growing but loss-making stocks or because there is little confidence that the available cash resources will be enough to reach the long-promised goal of positive free cashflow. We hope it is the latter because it leaves management in no doubt that it must deliver”.

Certainly, over the next 3 months I hope to see proof that management will deliver some of the long-awaited contracts in Aviation, Fleet and Automotive. Surely, some US funds must be watching in anticipation also.

The writer holds shares in Seeing Machines. 

Collins Aerospace license deal is imminent

It’s great to have confirmation that the long-awaited aviation license deal with Collins Aerospace is set to be announced imminently. Yes, really.

In a presentation to Italian investors back in November 2022, Paul McGlone, CEO of Seeing Machines, revealed that it was expected to be signed before the end of 2022. I assume the deal with Collins Aerospace was then slightly delayed while the fine details were negotiated and will be announced on or before the forthcoming US investor/analyst event on the 8th March in New York.

I’d heard strong rumours a few months back of such a deal and so posted this blog back in August, since when further research has led me to conclude I was correct. However, the interview now confirms it and provides a lot more detail. For example, Paul McGlone reveals that around A$15m will be paid upfront with higher ASP and recurring maintenance fees being part of the deal. 

Collins has previously refused to comment but I assume this will now change. 

In addition, Seeing Machines is also bidding for a huge RFQ for an international airline to place its pilot monitoring technology in approximately 333 ‘7’ series Boeing jets and 18 simulators. I’m assuming it may be Emirates but it could also be a US airline.

It’s fantastic news for Seeing Machines and will finally prove the worth of the aviation business. Indeed, when officially confirmed the deal should produce numerous broker upgrades and have fund managers scrambling to buy into the stock.

The writer holds stock in Seeing Machines.