Software tells tired drivers to take a break

A EUR 850 000 loan extended under the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility under the EU's Horizon 2020 programme and backed by the European Investment Fund has helped Swedish company Smart Eye secure contracts for its software that alerts sleepy drivers. As well as making roads safer, this has created jobs.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


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Published: 16 July 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Industrial research
Information society
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Special CollectionsFinancial Instruments - InnovFin
TransportRoad
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Sweden
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Software tells tired drivers to take a break

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© methaphum #231312488, source: stock.adobe.com 2019

Smart Eye founder Martin Krantz got the idea for his company in 1999 when his father called to ask if there was a way for his wife, who had a shoulder problem, to move a computer cursor with her eyes.

‘A few weeks later, I had made some calculations and thought about it and I said, “I think it is possible”,’ Krantz recounts. Smart Eye was set up later that year.

The company started out making eye-tracking technology for research laboratories but the EU-backed loan enabled Krantz to recruit 12 engineers to embed it into automotive systems.

It has since won contracts to supply the software to two German car manufacturers.

‘Our software makes it possible to tell if the driver is tired, if the driver is paying attention,’ says Krantz. ‘It was thanks to this loan from the European Union that it was possible for us to secure and start delivering on the first automotive contract.’

The technology was fitted to new cars starting in 2017 and Smart Eye grew by 50 % in one year, with its workforce increasing to 45 people.

‘The InnovFin loan allowed us to leverage our current business and take it to a larger market share,’ Krantz adds. ‘With high-tech products it is very important to be the first company entering into a new market. It provides our business with the ‘first movers’ advantage.’

Smart Eye has also been able to conclude a financing agreement with private investors worth EUR 4 million.

‘Thanks to InnovFin we have been able to take the company to the next level,’ says Krantz.

Now Smart Eye is in a position to approach other car manufacturers. The software could also be used in aircraft. For Krantz, the goal is to expand beyond Europe and land a contract in Asia as soon as possible.

Project details

  • Project acronym: Smart Eye
  • Participants: Sweden (Coordinator)
  • EU contribution: € 850 000

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