Combining machine learning and augmented reality to create a new type of navigation app, California-based Phiar’s new platform will enable drivers to more safely and accurately keep track of their surroundings. The app, founded by a computer vision researcher and an expert in deep learning, is set to launch in app stores in mid-2019.
Most traditional GPS apps require drivers to look away from the road to analyze instructions and Phiar addresses this by providing an augmented reality version of the road and the driver’s surroundings. The visuals are analyzed and provided through the smartphone camera, providing a lightweight and efficient solution.
The company announced a seed funding round of $3 million, co-led by Venture Reality Fund and Norwest Venture Partners with participation from Anorak Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Zeno Ventures, Cross Culture Ventures, GFR Fund, Y Combinator, Innolinks Ventures, and Half Court Ventures. The funds will go towards developing a computer vision and advance the deep learning navigation aspect.
“We want our users to keep their eyes on the road, looking at the real world rather than a 2D rendering of it,” says Ivy Li, Co-founder and CTO of Phiar. “What makes the experience so unique is the live AR path overlays, made possible by our super-efficient computer vision and deep learning AI that runs on your smartphone. This augments your surroundings rather than distracting you from them.”