Derq, an MIT spinoff and Dubai-based start-up, has received USD $1.5 million in funding to perfect its Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven autonomous vehicle application layer, designed to improve communications between drivers, their cars and smart road infrastructure.
Derq’s goal is to use AI to make vehicles safer by using the vehicle technology and improving communication between cars and smart road infrastructure. Sensors can track things like vehicle speed, and AI can begin to predict if a vehicle is traveling too fast, or changing lanes rapidly. “The technology uses artificial intelligence coupled with connected vehicle technology to prevent car accidents,” Derq CEO and MIT alumnus Georges Aoude told UAE daily The National. They plan to continue to grow and test their application in Dubai, and also to open a U.S. office in Detroit.
The application or device will use predictive behaviour and scan for changes, such as a car suddenly changing lanes, or speeding, and then warn the drivers in the vicinity. This will enable drivers to respond and avoid a crash. “If we can predict this behaviour – not at the last second because that’s too late – then you would have enough time to react and avoid that accident that could have been fatal or caused injuries,” Dr.Aoude said. “We’re working with Dubai Government entities, such as the RTA, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Smart Dubai and others to find out how to implement it on Dubai’s roads, as well as car manufacturers to become part of what they need in the cars of the future.”
With safety as a primary goal, the use of AI and autonomous vehicles can reduce the #1 cause of car crashes around the world – human error. With 1.25 million deaths per year globally, car crashes rate as the 9th highest cause of death across all age groups. In the U.S., the U.S. Center for Disease Control cites 32,000 deaths due to car crashes (2013), nearly twice the average of other high-income countries, and approximately 2.5% of fatalities worldwide. Use of this type of technology can reduce deaths, medical costs due to injuries, and property costs.
If vehicles are able to communicate with each other, provide a warning, and even avoid other vehicles and other obstacles, vehicle travel would become safer. Derq’s application operates between the self-driving vehicle, other driven vehicles, and the road infrastructure. Using AI, it can predict and avoid incidents and crashes and even notify nearby drivers. This added layer of safety can reduce incidents and crashes, thereby saving lives.