Updated: Aug 25, 2022
EDIT: This post was started and published on 8/24 but edited and completed on 8/25. This morning, AI start up company Moment.ai announced via a LinkedIn post it has a partnership with Canoo to supply "in-cabin AI"
Moment.ai doesn't give a lot of information on what exactly they do but does claim their AI detection system is the most advanced out there and is capable of "detecting the many complex and many unpredictable events that a human being can go through and provide easy solutions."
That sounds nice but doesn't really paint a clear picture. I've been suspecting that Canoo and Moment were working out a partnership of some sorts since April of this year - although I didn't tweet about it until July giving a hint at what that partnership might involve. But before tying in the relationship with Canoo lets take a step back and look at what, or who, Moment Ai is.
When Megan Gray was 23 years old, she started to suffer seizures and was told by her doctors that she wouldn't ever be able to safely operate a vehicle again. Not one for being told what to do, she pulled out a Uno reverse card and said "no u" to the universe.
So she casually invented a device that hooked up to her steering wheel and monitored her brain and heart for signs of potential seizure. She then developed an app that would alert her when she was about to have a seizure by using facial recognition technology.
My reaction to this when I first learned it was "holy shit" but it gets even cooler. To gather the seed money required to launch Moment Ai, Megan headed down to Atlantic City and kicked ass on the poker tables to earn enough to get started.
This sounds like an even better Start-Up movie than the Social Network.
Moment Ai was founded in 2019 and by 2021 had an investment by Softbank. They still operate in "stealth mode" so most of what they're up too just isn't public but they have been involved with testing their tech for/with OEMs like GM, Chrysler & Kia.
In 2020 George Washington University (GWU) and Moment AI partnered up together to form a transportation lab aimed at developing AI systems that could one day prevent health-induced traffic accidents via an in-vehicle AI system that would detect the start of a health problem, then take over controls of the car and guide it to a safe place on the side of the road.
According to a pitch deck slide, Moment AI says that GWU + FedEx are providing them with:
a Freight Truck simulator
Private roads for testing semi-autonomous technology
Building clinic to acquire data for lab
I'll be honest, I'm not sure what a "Building Clinic" is - contextually it sounds like an R&D tech bootcamp where they simulate health events in order to train the AI system.
They also have a partnership with MATA(Memphis Area Transit Authority) although what form that partnership takes isn't clear. The news stories about it all seem to have the same take that MATA "has entered into a partnership with a Virginia-based company called Moment AI, which would bring self-driving buses to the Bluff City." - Now I could be wrong, but I don't think Moment is making busses. My best guess is they are providing a passenger monitoring system to alert for medical emergencies. But maybe "shuttle" should have been a better word to use. I think this youtube video of an autonomous shuttle program being tested in the Twin Cities is probably what MATA is referring to - and if you look at the majority of those passenger types shown, it seems health monitoring would be high priority.
I'm not suggesting that Canoo is going to get into the shuttle game, just giving some background and context to Moment Ai and now finally we can get to the Canoo connection. Moment is setting up shop in Northwest Arkansas in partnership with the University of Arkansas, most likely with the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research which was funded by a $200M grant given to them by the Walton Family Foundation. Canoo is also going to be setting up an R&D center there. Although I should point out the assertion that Canoo will also be involved with the I3R program specifically is just my opinion and has not been confirmed anywhere else that I know of. The focus of the NWA office for Moment will be starting a Fleet Division. As we know this also happens to be Canoo's focus as well. Seeing as how Moment Ai has announced a partnership with Canoo, and the only service they knowingly/publicly provide is driver/passenger monitoring, it's not a stretch to conclude that Canoo plans to include a DMS(driver monitoring system) within the Canoo Fleet Ecosystem.
However anything beyond that is speculative, but I could imagine the benefits of such a system to any Fleet manager. Being alerted to your drivers showing signs of being intoxicated, sleepy/distracted or having a health emergency would be a massive incentive.
Of course, monitoring and sending this biometric data around comes with very big security concerns but Megan says they have security as a top priority and they encrypt all of their data. It is noteworthy she has worked for Lockheed Martin and the DoD in building and consulting on their solutions for privacy and data processing systems, so I am inclined to believe her when she says she know how to keep the biometric data in secure channels.
It remains to be seen just what DMS capabilities might come with Canoo's initial roll out next year - I would assume it'll start with a small amount of features and slowly build up to a more effective package as the software is developed.
I reached out to Megan via e-mail with some questions concerning the announcement and although she declined to answer any, she did tell me they would be releasing more information along with Canoo, "soon".
Authors disclosures: I am long Canoo - I own common shares, warrants and call options.