AI solution for infrastructure maintenance wins GI Hub’s innovation competition

AI-enabled cameras detect road hazards in real time, enabling faster and securer maintenance for safer roads. Winning InfraChallenge will assist Canadian start-up IRIS to scale globally and reach emerging countries.

The Global Infrastructure Hub (GI Hub) has announced Canadian start-up IRIS as the winner of its annual innovation competition – InfraChallenge – during a live final today. This year, InfraChallenge is supported by the Italian G20 Presidency and focused on technological solutions for building and maintaining better, more resilient infrastructure.

Maintenance is critical to the safety and resilience of our infrastructure, yet most technology that gathers asset condition data is expensive or impractical at scale. IRIS’s winning solution enables cities to monitor road infrastructure at a substantially lower cost by using dash cameras with artificial intelligence (AI) to detect road hazards and defects in real time.

“Winning the InfraChallenge competition will enable us to localise and implement IRIS’s road infrastructure assessment technology across the world – including emerging economies that need the solution the most,” said IRIS CEO and Co-founder Emil Sylvester Ramos.

Infrastructure is one of the least technologically transformed sectors of the economy. To help change this, the GI Hub created InfraChallenge to advance emerging technologies by giving start-ups an opportunity to bring their solutions to a global market.

GI Hub CEO Marie Lam-Frendo said “Congratulations to IRIS on their use of artificial intelligence to create a solution for monitoring public assets. Infrastructure maintenance is a ubiquitous challenge for governments around the world and IRIS’s technology has the potential to improve the safety and resilience of roads as well as other assets.”

The winner of InfraChallenge 2021 receives AU$50,000, ongoing support to scale their solution and exposure to a global network of infrastructure decisionmakers that includes the G20’s Infrastructure Working Group.

Head of G7/G20 Coordination Unit, Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance, Lawrence Bartolomucci said “The Italian G20 Presidency applauds IRIS for winning InfraChallenge 2021. Such an innovative solution is instrumental to making sure future road infrastructure is sustainable, resilient, smart and accessible to all. We are sure that the economic and technical support that IRIS will receive from winning will be crucial to turn this transformative project into a concrete reality.”

InfraChallenge 2021 received submissions from 30 countries. The top 20 competitors undertook a 1:1 mentoring program developed by the GI Hub and supported by industry expert volunteer mentors to develop their ideas. At today’s InfraChallenge 2021 Final, the top 10 finalists pitched their solutions to a panel of expert judges, who decided the winner. The application period for next year’s InfraChallenge competition will be announced in early 2022.

Listen to GI Hub’s podcast interview with IRIS here.

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