SmartCone Wins $60,000 Top Prize in NextChallenge: Smart Cities Technology Challenge

DETROIT – SmartCone, a Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Solutions, has won the NextChallenge: Smart Cities technology challenge, a will receive $60,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate and validate the concept.

NextChallenge: Smart Cities technology challenge, a global competition challenging innovators to find hardware and software technology solutions to address unmet needs in urban areas. SmartCone’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Solution makes intersections safer through an innovative platform that uses a combination of heat detection cameras and invisible trip wires to detect non-motorized transport. The software triggers flashing lights on eye-level bollards to notify drivers when it’s safe to proceed and is capable of recording video, capturing license plates of dangerous drivers, and providing pedestrian and cyclist counts.

“The finalists came to Detroit from around the world to share their smart city technology solutions that tackle challenges with mobility and the built environment in urban areas,” said Jean Redfield, president and CEO, NextEnergy. “SmartCone provided an impressive solution addressing biker safety, specifically with communication to drivers, letting them know when they are sharing the roadway with nearby cyclists and when it’s safe to proceed. SmartCone’s combination of sensor technologies and connected data analytics to identify and even predict driver-cyclist crashes and near misses stood out to this year’s judges. We are looking forward to working with them in the New Year.”

The contest is run by NextEnergy, in partnership with DENSO International America, DTE Energy and Wells Fargo,

In addition, Switched Source LLC was named the Grant Award Winner and received $40,000 to fund their project. Derq earned the People’s Choice Award and $20,000.

Switched Source is a next generation startup providing power flow control technology solutions for distribution companies. Their patented Distribution Tie Controller device helps increase the efficiency and reliability of the last mile of electricity delivery of the electric grid for urban and suburban users – giving electric distribution companies a new level of control for managing power flows.

Derq, an MIT spin-off with a mission to eliminate road accidents by using artificial intelligence, is showcasing the benefits of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connected technologies on road safety and mobility in Detroit and beyond. Artificial Intelligence algorithms within their patented system can detect and predict dangerous or congested traffic scenarios and alert connected vehicles nearby through short-range communication.

More than 100 innovators submitted online concept proposals earlier this year which were reviewed and narrowed down to a group of semi-finalists based on the following objectives: validity of innovation, applicant qualifications, competitive advantage, and scalability. Fifty-nine semi-finalists from innovators around the world submitted full proposals which were narrowed down to a group of 10 finalists who pitched their ideas live to a panel of judges – representatives from NextEnergy, DTE Energy, DENSO, Wayne State University, and Invest Detroit – who collaboratively determined the winners. 

The finalists included: Ambience Data, Derq, Eco BCG, EcoG, GreenLots, Nextek Power Systems, SmartCone, Switched Source LLC, Tome and Trafisense. 

For more information about NextChallenge: Smart Cities, visit nextchallenge.org.