Israeli startup lets insurers, rental agencies inspect cars by AI

Over a billion auto inspections are performed each year by car rental companies and insurance companies. Israeli start-up Ravin wants to simplify this process, using artificial intelligence to allow anyone with a smartphone to file an auto report.

“The problem today is that most of these inspections are done manually by people who subjectively choose what to report,” said Eliron Ekstein, CEO of Ravin. “If you think of a leasing company, when you bring the car back to the dealership, you leave it there, and it may take a week or two before it gets inspected. And then you might get an invoice for the damage in the mail later. This creates a pretty poor customer experience and causes a lot of problems in the industry. “

The manual process for auto inspections means it may take longer for companies to get leased cars back on the road after they’ve returned. It can also force insurance companies to pay for damage that was not necessary, as inspectors are expected to make quick decisions. “We estimate that around $ 25 per car is left on the table due to subjective calls made by human inspectors,” Ekstein said.

Ravin’s solution allows users to simply take a video of the car and upload it to the system, where AI and machine learning can automatically identify the car and assess the damage caused. The video can then be uploaded to the company’s system via a web page, without users having to install an app.

“Our platform is able to understand the angle the video is shot from, make sense of what it sees, and not only identify a dent on the door, but also provide information on how to fix it, ”Ekstein said. “This allows you to get an estimate of your damage in advance before you even return the car.”

Ravin was founded in 2019 and has raised $ 25 million from investors, including $ 15 million. Series A ended in March. Its investors include Shell Ventures, the investment arm of energy giant Royal Dutch Shell, and auto wholesale platform KAR Global. The company has 30 employees at its headquarters in Haifa, with another 30 across the United States, London and elsewhere.

Cars (credit: REUTERS / MIKE BLAKE)

In its early days, Ravin conducted pilot tests using stationary CCTV cameras, working with major car rental companies like the Budget Avis Group. However, when it developed a system for cell phone cameras in 2020, the company began to grow rapidly. She now works with insurance companies around the world such as the KBC group in Belgium, as well as leasing operations for Lexus and Toyota, among others.

“Our customers can be rental or leasing companies, insurance companies, auction houses or anyone who manages a fleet for industries,” Ekstein said. “It helps fleets run more smoothly and gives non-professionals the tools to conduct a fair car transaction without having to rely on third-party experts. I think there is a potential of a billion dollars in revenue per year.

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