Audi uses Revl AI for driver “experience” videos

Audi uses startup Revl's AI service to give customers a video souvenir of their test drive experience. Revl built AI into its cameras to speed up editing, which is processed in an on-premise server. (Audi)

Startup Revl has developed an artificial intelligence-capable video editing software to capture key moments from a roller coaster ride or a test drive in a high-performance auto from Audi or Porsche that can be quickly emailed to customers.

Even though AI chips are all the industry rage in 2020, Revl’s AI process doesn’t rely on a discrete AI chip, one of its founders, Eric Sanchez, said.

The company on Tuesday announced it has raised $5.5 million in a Series A funding round from Nimble Ventures with participation from Tuesday Capital, Silicon Valley Data Capital and Luma Pictures.

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The company’s video production service is called Revl X and is being used by Audi, Porsche, Zip World UK, Skydive Drop Zones and two major cruise lines that weren’t named.

Revl is using the software to capitalize on the “experience economy,” which refers to businesses that offer high-quality experiences to customers that they can share on social networks. Revl said in a statement that its software allows seamless capture, edit and share. The AI capability can understand human emotions and then can identify key moments in a car driving or other experience. The Revl cameras are also geospatially aware.

AI helps in editing down the videos to the most important moments. Zip World UK has used the product and seen an impact on sales, Revl said. Customers can also share the content to social platforms, which aids in the organic marketing of products. Identifiers like hashtags are embedded in the content so that companies like Audi are included in social posts.

Audi’s head of driver experience Klaus Demel said Revl X gives potential customers an opportunity to revisit a test drive and share it with others. In a short video, Audi shows how its Audi myMemories allows customers to receive a video souvenir of a test drive of an Audi on a test track. The service relies on a series of cameras that can be attached quickly to a rear-view mirror.

Sanchez worked with Nelson Vazquez and Bruce Pla to start Revl in 2015 when they sought a easier way to produce their fun videos of kitesurfing and skydiving adventures.

In an email, Sanchez said Revl X was developed without requiring an AI chip, which would have cost years of development and tens of thousands of dollars. Using an AI chip “is not an option for a small startup,” he said. “Instead, we had to be more creative in order to find a way to increase the speed of our video processing AI,” he explained. “We leverage the processing power of each individual camera to work in conjunction with the processors on the on-premise cloud server in order the increase the speed that the AI takes to scan all the raw video.”

The concept works “marvelously,” he added. “It basically doubles the speed at which we can process video. This can only be done by a full-stack company like Revl which develops both camera hardware as well as AI video software.”

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