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Developing State-of-the-Art AI-Based Perception Systems  

Robert Laganière, President & CEO, Sensor Cortek

Developing State-of-the-Art AI-Based Perception Systems

With his 25 years of varied experience in Computer Vision and Image/Video analysis, Dr. Robert Laganiere co-founded a slew of startups including Sensor Cortek. Robert’s undying passion for Computer Vision and AI (Artificial Intelligence) helped him found Sensor Cortek, that develops state-of-the-art AI-based perception systems for all applications. Excerpts from an interview with Robert Laganière:

Conception of Sensor Cortek

Sensor Cortek uses deep neural networks to develop advanced embedded perception systems, enabling reliable understanding of real-world environments. Says Robert, “Sensor Cortek engineers AI for perception by developing full-stack solutions. We not only design deep neural network architectures, but also consider data acquisition and preprocessing, build real-time inference engines that can be embedded into power-constrained specialized architectures and performs extensive testing under challenging environmental conditions.”

AI-Based Software Solutions

Perception systems process and analyze sensor data to build high-level representations of a monitored environment. The company has developed solutions using different input sensors “For instance, Our AI for Radar solution replaces the traditional radar processing pipeline by an end-to-end neural architecture. It has been tested on leading-edge high-definition automotive radars and showed superior performance in detecting road users. This solution is also currently deployed in the context of occupancy detection and monitoring.”

A fully embedded network has also been created by the company for the detection of road users on a specialized low-power embedded vision processor with neural accelerator. This solution produces state-of-the-art detection from Lidar running at up to 50 fps, processing up to 20K points per frame, and consuming less than 5W.

“We believe at Sensor Cortek that sensor fusion is one of the key technologies that will allow perception system to be deployed under adverse conditions. We developed a sensor fusion network based on the concept of mid-level fusion that can take advantage of the complimentary information captured by different sensors to provide reliable detection.”

The AI Journey

A professor at the faculty of Engineering of the University of Ottawa, Robert has been involved in the fields of Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence. A passionate entrepreneur, he has participated to many collaborative R&D projects with high-tech companies and large industry players. “I have been involved in the creation and growth of several startup companies” maintains Robert.

A successful integration of AI starts with a strong expertise of the technology, according to this technology enthusiast. “A good AI solution should not just be a black box. Truly innovative solutions come up from a deep ‘under the hood’ understanding of AI. Also, it is imperative to know your data, understanding its structure, selecting the best representation, making sure it covers well your domain of applications. High quality AI solutions need high quality data. And understand your domain, what results are needed, how will you test your results. This should be well defined before building your solution.”

Leadership Traits

A passionate leader, this entrepreneur believes that life must be a fun journey. “Aim to be a trustworthy person; trust your people and make sure your people trust you, this is the best way to attract and retain the best persons in your team. Failure is part of entrepreneurship. If you did not experience failures that’s probably because you were not ambitious enough. The important is to learn from them and try to not fail the same way twice. Planning is the best way to mitigate risks.”

A Word of Advice

“Build a solid network of great people; the best opportunities will often arise through people you know.” Building complex technology is not your objective, you must find a solution to a real problem; remember that AI is just one (very performing) tool in your toolbox; a complete solution will probably require much more than just AI or may not need AI at all. It’s your ingenuity that solves a problem not AI.”

The Success Mantra

Robert advices young entrepreneurs to seek help and direction whenever they need. “Most successful people are happy to help if you ask them clear questions. Stay focus but at the same time know when it is time to pivot. Don’t over-promise rather aim at over-delivering.”

Company: Sensor Cortek

Website: www.sensorcortek.ai

Management:  Robert Laganière, President & CEO

Founded Year: 2018

Headquarters: Ottawa, Ontario

Description: Sensor Cortek is a company specializing in the design of embedded artificial intelligence solutions for the vehicle of the future.