Seeing Machines’ face tracking technology builds traction in multiple areas

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What it does

Seeing Machines PLC (LON:SEE) makes driver monitoring systems (DMS) that can be used in cars, trucks, trains and aircraft.

The technology tracks the eye gaze, head position and pupil size of drivers or pilots to determine whether they are drowsy or distracted.

Among some of the firm’s clients are Autoliv, General Motors, Coach USA, Bosch, Caterpillar and Emirates.

Seeing Machines sees an opportunity for its DMS in the autonomous vehicles market that is being developed by the likes of Tesla, General Motors and Alphabet’s Waymo.

There are different levels of autonomy with level 0 being when you hear a beep as you approach an object when reversing and level 5 being when the steering wheel becomes superfluous.

The AIM-listed group is based in Canberra, Australia but serves markets across Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific.

 

How it is doing

The new year started with a licence agreement for its Occula neural processing unit with digital imaging solutions firm OmniVision Technologies. The agreement represents the first execution of a silicon licence for Occula, which allows the development of low-cost, high-performance edge-AI to power future human-machine interfaces.

During 2020, the Fleet (Aftermarket) business continued to grow despite the pandemic.At the end of November 2020, Seeing Machines had a total installed base of more than 26,000 Guardian units, with additional hardware sales of 3,500 units still to be connected, due to vehicle accessibility and the subsequent slower installation rate. 

In the year ended June 30, revenues were up 25% year-on-year at A$40mln, boosted by a 32% rise in revenues from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) due to a pre-production licence deal with a Tier 1 partner. 

Recurring revenues were also up 17% at A$14mln reflecting growth in the group’s installed base of Guardian products to 23,415 at the end of June. Pre-tax losses for the year were at A$45.5mln compared to a A$42mln loss in 2019.

 

What the boss says: Paul McGlone, chief executive

“Seeing Machines has had a wonderful working relationship with OmniVision for over 5 years now, having successfully worked together on multiple automotive programs with a number of Tier 1 customers. This agreement represents a natural next step for our two companies, to work strategically together to achieve the highest possible coupling between the imaging and processing domains.”

“We are thrilled to continue working with OmniVision as both companies combine to continue to deliver excellent price versus performance Driver and Occupant Monitoring solutions to the market.”

 

What the broker says

In a note on September 4, 2020, analysts at Cenkos Securities said the company’s Occula neural processing unit alongside its new ‘embedded product strategy’ for the automotive market is a “further step change” in delivery of DMS technology.

The firm’s ‘house’ broker, which rates the company at ‘buy’, said the Occula unit “significantly extends” the company’s technology lead, while the brand launch also demonstrated that the company is “stepping up its marketing, having kept relatively quiet about its technology development path for competitive reasons”.

Cenkos noted that the technology being applied to the company’s FOVIO chip implementations means “existing FOVIO chip customers can benefit as the processing headroom provided” enables room for new features to be added off the same hardware.

“We see the launch of Occula as an exciting development for the company with this step-change in the Seeing Machines technology expected to further the gap from its peers in benchmark testing. It is the result of significant work under the radar and the announcement demonstrates confidence in the company that it has world-class technology not just in DMS but also human tracking and detection”, the broker’s analysts said.

“This will undoubtedly increase its potential market share in automotive but will also no doubt pique the interest of other technology developers and integrators. Seeing Machines is therefore opening back up from a transportation focussed technology company to a human-machine interface technology supplier which could deliver further significant value to investors which is not reflected in the current share price”, they added.

 

Inflexion points

  • Traction in all key areas where Seeing Machines operates
  • More contracts for DMS technology
  • Revenues start to build as contracts ramp-up
  • Demand for new Occula system

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