Brisk Syn­ergy in­vited to join In­finiti Lab in Hong Kong

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence ma­chine is an­a­lyz­ing in­ter­sec­tion safety

Waterloo Region Record - - Front Page - TERRY PEN­DER Water­loo Re­gion Record

WATER­LOO — About 18 months af­ter it launched a video an­a­lyt­ics plat­form to re­duce col­li­sions at in­ter­sec­tions, Brisk Syn­er­gies has de­ployed its tech­nol­ogy in about 30 cities around the world.

Now, the startup, which is based in the Ac­cel­er­a­tor Cen­tre in the David John­ston Re­search and Tech­nol­ogy Park in Water­loo, is par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Hong Kong-based pro­gram for au­to­mo­tive re­lated star­tups called In­finiti Lab.

In­finiti is the lux­ury ve­hi­cle di­vi­sion of the Ja­panese au­tomaker Nissan.

Brisk, founded by chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Charles Chung and chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer and Luis Mi­randa-Moreno, has bro­ken new ground in traf­fic man­age­ment and smart city tech­nol­ogy.

Tra­di­tion­ally, traf­fic en­gi­neers and ur­ban plan­ners had to wait five years be­fore there was enough data to de­ter­mine if an in­ter­sec­tion re­quired phys­i­cal changes to make it safer. The plan­ners had to wait for ac­ci­dents to hap­pen and then study the col­li­sions in de­tail.

“It is very re­ac­tive, very slow,” said Chung.

Brisk’s plat­form tracks all ve­hi­cles and pedes­tri­ans mov­ing through an in­ter­sec­tion with a video an­a­lyt­ics plat­form. It high­lights the near misses. Traf­fic en­gi­neers will know within days if changes are needed to the road­way, not years. And they will know be­fore any­one is in­jured or killed in an ac­ci­dent.

“Usu­ally, in a few days we have enough in­for­ma­tion,” said Chung. “That is a game changer for them be­cause they have never been able to re­act so quickly to those sit­u­a­tions.”

This past sum­mer Brisk Syn­er­gies was among nine star­tups in the In­finiti Lab pro­gram in Toronto. The smart city, In­ter­net of Things ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gram lasted six weeks. Af­ter it was over, Brisk was the only startup asked to pitch for en­try into In­finiti Lab’s global en­tre­pre­neur pro­gram in Hong Kong. It was ac­cepted.

Dur­ing the next three months, Brisk will re­ceive one-on-one coach­ing from In­finiti’s ex­ec­u­tive team. Chung and his team will work with ex­perts in brand­ing, prod­uct and net­work trans­for­ma­tion, and meet with Asian in­vestors. All of the costs for flights and ac­com­mo­da­tions are cov­ered by In­finiti Lab.

Traf­fic ac­ci­dents are a lead­ing cause of death world­wide so the startup’s tech­nol­ogy is at­trac­tive to cities in both ad­vanced and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. The plat­form uses neu­ral net­works, ob­ject iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing.

“Once we de­tect an is­sue on the

road we au­to­mat­i­cally ex­tract the video for our clients, and they can see and ob­serve what ex­actly is hap­pen­ing,” said Chung.

In­for­ma­tion gath­ered by the plat­form is dis­played on a dash­board for client cities. Dur­ing his time in Hong Kong, Chung wants to ex­plore how the tech­nol­ogy could be used by other par­ties.

“From con­struc­tion com­pa­nies to au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers and pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and ur­ban plan­ners, there is a strong in­ter­est in mak­ing the road safer,” he said.

The two founders are grad­u­ates of the Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo.

Chung has a master’s de­gree in com­puter

science and an MBA in busi­ness and tech­nol­ogy. Mi­randa-Moreno has a PhD in traf­fic engi­neer­ing from UW and is an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor in civil engi­neer­ing at McGill Uni­ver­sity in Mon­treal.

The two pre­vi­ously worked at other star­tups but de­cided to fo­cus on tech­nol­ogy that can im­prove road safety be­cause of the num­ber of peo­ple killed and in­jured in col­li­sions.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion says 1.25 mil­lion peo­ple are killed in traf­fic ac­ci­dents an­nu­ally.

Traf­fic ac­ci­dents are the lead­ing cause of death world­wide for young peo­ple 15 to 29.

“It af­fects al­most ev­ery­one,” said Chung.

PETER LEE WATER­LOO RE­GION RECORD

Charles Chung is the co-founder and CEO of Brisk Syn­er­gies, a new Water­loo com­pany that uses ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing to im­prove road safety. Their video an­a­lyt­ics plat­form is used in 30 cities.

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