Driver fatigue monitoring specialist Seeing Machines (SEE:AIM) sparks up 9.1% to 7.5p after signing a preliminary agreement with Samsung (005930:KS) subsidiary Samsung Electro-Mechanics (SEMCo). Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, Seeing Machines will share knowledge with the electronic component company with the aim of bringing 'contextually aware, face and eye-tracking enabled solutions to market that will deliver a greatly improved user experience'.
Ken Kroeger, CEO of Seeing Machines, insists 'this is a unique opportunity to enter into an alliance with a true global innovator in the advancement of consumer electronics and mobile devices. I can't think of a better strategic partner for the consumer electronics industry and feel strongly that working with our friends at SEMCo will help us to drive mass-market adoption of face and eye tracking technology.'
Today's positive news comes just a week after the £62 million cap landed a 15-year strategic alliance with TK Holdings, the US subsidiary of Japanese automotive equipment titan Takata Corporation (7312:T), to provide the first mass-manufactured driver monitoring system.
The deal will see Seeing Machines' patented smart sensor technology installed into cars, trucks and buses. Tokyo-listed Takata, which supplies auto manufacturers across the world, will pay Seeing Machines an annual minimum licence fee and a percentage royalty on its software for each product sold, according to a research note from small cap specialist broker finnCap.
In 2013, the Aim-listed tech company signed a deal with construction machinery group Caterpillar (CAT:NYSE) to roll out its Fatigue Monitoring System across Caterpillar's authorised dealers. However, some analysts have questioned whether demand for Seeing Machines products will be hit by auto manufacturers developing self-driving technologies. For instance, Daimler (DAI:DE) is said to be working on a self-driving solution for heavy goods vehicles.
Last month (29 Aug), Seeing Machines reported record sales of A$17.8 million, up almost 40% for the year to June and driven by particularly strong sales to the global mining sector. However investment in additional research and development (R&D) and the costs of funding growth in new markets took the business into the red.