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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2022

Hayden AI – Helping Governments Bridge the Innovation Gap in Traffic Enforcement for Safer and More Efficient Traffic Flows

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“We are helping governments address pressing issues that stem from the rapid growth in urban population, which is not slowing down anytime soon.”

In many cities around the world, transportation infrastructure has not kept up with population growth. This has exacerbated traffic congestion, air pollution, and traffic-related injuries and fatalities -- at the same time new modes of transportation, like ride-hailing, are making streets even harder to manage. Enforcing traffic laws can help improve traffic flows and alleviate these issues, but traditional enforcement systems have proven to be highly inefficient and ineffective due to the large volumes of violations that occur every day. AI can help streamline the enforcement of traffic laws by automating the tedious process of manually capturing violations with a camera, and Hayden AI is enabling government agencies to accomplish this.

As a pioneer in smart traffic enforcement enabled by AI-powered mobile technologies, Hayden AI has introduced a wide range of innovative tools that allow government agencies to enforce traffic laws more efficiently and effectively while harnessing actionable insights. The company’s flagship product, Automated Bus Lane Enforcement, is already helping governments streamline the enforcement of dedicated bus lanes, delivery zones, and intersections by automating the detection and assessment of these violations. This has significantly reduced traffic congestion, improved bus speeds, and increased transit ridership.

Chris Carson, CEO of Hayden AI, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review on how his company is helping governments improve urban mobility and enhance the quality of life for their communities.

Interview Highlights

Q. What was the motivation behind starting Hayden AI?

The idea for Hayden AI first came about while I was riding a bus one day. I noticed that the bus operator had a camera on the dashboard, and every time he saw a car parked in a bus lane, he pushed a button to take a photo of the car. I knew that computer vision could do this for him – and much more.

I have always been interested in computer vision. After serving in the Marines, I enrolled in graduate school at Waseda University in Tokyo, where I earned a Ph.D. with an emphasis in Computer Vision. This technology is what makes autonomous vehicles possible, and I realized that there are many other problems it can solve – particularly for government agencies.

Q. What makes Hayden AI relevant in today’s times? Could you give us some context?

We are helping governments address pressing issues that stem from the rapid growth in urban population, which is not slowing down anytime soon.

The UN predicts that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban cities by 2050, and that figure is 50% today. Yet, cities are already struggling with traffic congestion, poor air quality, and economic inequality. Urban mobility disruptions such as ride-hailing services and on-demand deliveries are only exacerbating these issues.

Governments need to ensure that roadways are utilized optimally to withstand the transportation demands of today’s and tomorrow’s urban population.

One way they can accomplish this is by enforcing traffic laws more effectively to ensure smoother traffic flows, and we are enabling them to do just that.

Q. How is Hayden AI challenging the status quo?

We process traffic violations at the edge, rather than transmitting recordings to a remote cloud server for analysis. This significantly increases the speed at which violations are processed and enhances data privacy and security.

Our mobile perception devices automatically detect, capture, and analyze video clips of traffic violations. Evidence packages that include information about the violating vehicle and a context clip of the violation are the only information that is sent to our cloud servers.

We also allow government agencies to gain on-the-ground insights into city assets. For example, our platform can help governments identify problematic routes and infrastructures that may need improvement, such as sidewalks.

Q. Could you tell us about the technology that powers your platform?

Our platform is powered by a number of cutting-edge technologies. We leverage AIoT to analyze violations at the edge, and utilize cloud computing for further processing.

At the edge, an AI-powered context camera detects violations involving a vehicle and a restricted road area, while an ALPR camera extracts the license plate characters and other information about the violating vehicle.

Advanced computer vision and deep learning algorithms are used to analyze video frames to identify vehicles and lanes of interest, their relative positions, and the degree of overlap between them with centimeter-level accuracy.

We also leverage blockchain technology to secure evidence packages in the cloud by enforcing strict access controls and tracking modifications.

Q. What does innovation mean to Hayden AI?

Innovation is at the heart of Hayden AI. Our unrivaled portfolio of inventions is testament to this — with over 12 patents filed, and three of them granted so far.

In addition to our mobile perception framework and edge machine vision algorithms, we introduced a semantic mapping layer that allows government agencies to manage traffic enforcement rules with high levels of flexibility.

The mapping layer provides several methods to add and modify enforcement rules, and it enables municipalities to gauge the effectiveness of lane restrictions in alleviating traffic congestion.

Q. How is Hayden AI unique? What differentiates you from others in the space?

We are the front-runners of innovation in smart traffic enforcement with inventions that are years ahead of our competitors.

Our mobile perception devices analyze traffic violations at the edge, rather than in the cloud as our competitors.

We enable government agencies to define, evaluate, and fine-tune traffic rules digitally — which no other company does.

We have also embedded best practices for security and privacy, which include government-grade encryption, data sharing and, auditable chains of custody.

Our platform also integrates crowdsourced reporting through our Safe Sense mobile app, which allows citizens to report violations.

Q. Could you tell us about the work culture at Hayden AI?

Our culture is centered on customer focus, passion, collaboration, empowerment, transparency, and integrity.

We prioritize the best interests of our customers with a strong commitment to go the extra mile. Our teams practice knowledge sharing and open communication, and collaborate with other teams across the organization to improve productivity.

Our culture also promotes learning, growth, and a healthy work-life balance. We encourage team members to take on new roles to expand their career prospects, and we provide flexible working hours and paid vacation time.

We also embrace inclusion and diversity by ensuring that all team members have equal opportunity.

Q. What does the road ahead look like for Hayden AI? Do you have anything new coming up?

We are expanding our traffic enforcement solutions to include street sweepers, streetcars, police vehicles, and garbage trucks.

We are also expanding our offerings to include Digital Twins that will enable government agencies to build dynamic, 3D models of cities and utilize geospatial analytics to monitor city assets, simulate policies, and model city infrastructure.

In addition to that, we are growing our international customer base, particularly in Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.

The Visionary Leader Upfront

Chris Carson, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of Hayden AI. With over 20 years of experience driving growth in technology startups, multinational companies, and consultancies, Chris has established himself as an expert in strategy, innovation, and venture development. He has also been recognized as a thought leader for disruption and digital innovation.

“By combining computer vision with artificial intelligence, we can help governments automate manual processes, thus making public agencies more effective.”