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‘Watchmile’ is a gamechanger: VEStellaLab is poised to become the future of the mobility industry


“The vast collection of the indoor database from the Watchmile service will enable precise autonomous driving.”

VEStellaLab provides technology for autonomous driving and smart city parking systems. It created Watchmile, a cutting-edge, indoor parking navigation system that helps drivers find empty parking spaces. Watchmile combines closed-circuit televisions (CCTVs), IoT-based sensors, smartphone gyro sensors, and Vision AI to find parking spots fast.

VEStellaLab was founded in 2018.

The Silicon Review reached out to Dr. Sangsu Jung, who is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of VEStellaLab, and here’s what he had to say.

Interview Highlights

Q. Why was VEStellaLab born? What pain points did you set out to solve?

Among many, autonomous driving was every automotive company’s key task. Most of the global leading automotive companies had already begun investing in related technology. The driving force behind VEStellaLab is that none of these global leaders’ investments were focusing on “complete autonomous driving”. Based on VEStellaLab’s cutting-edge Indoor Precise Positioning technology, we can proudly say that we are in the middle of the perfect tune of autonomous driving.

To complete autonomous driving, the navigational system must be able to provide precise positions from the entrance of the parking lots to the exact parking space whether the GPS signal is receivable or not. Without a doubt, such “last-mile” technology will present the drivers’ perfect comfort, and this is what VEStellaLab is focusing on.

In Korea, due to the limited land space, most parking lots are located indoors to secure more than 20 million cars. Due to these conditions, finding empty parking spaces was not an easy task for drivers, especially in densely populated areas. To solve such inefficiency, Watchmile, our indoor navigation service project had begun.

The vast collection of the indoor database from the Watchmile service will enable precise autonomous driving.

Q. What can you tell us about the technology VEStellaLab creates for autonomous driving and smart city parking systems?

Watchmile is the world’s first indoor navigation for smartphone that guides users to their parking space. Watchmile service uses three main resources. Closed-circuit televisions (CCTV), IoT-based sensors, and the smartphone’s gyro sensors determine the exact location of the drivers.

Vision AI analyzes the big data of real-time collected data through CCTV and offers a quick search result of the location and number of empty parking spaces to the drivers. In addition, optimal search results can be provided based on the preferences entered in advance by the drivers.

Once parked, Watchmile provides useful information such as the exact location of where the vehicle is parked and the time parked. Watchmile is an exceptional service that greatly prevents unnecessary loss of time and effort which also enables the reduction of exhaust gas.

Q. How innovative is your Watchmile navigation system? What are its key features?

Watchmile does not just navigate you to the building but navigates you to the parking lot, and the actual final destination, and conveniently guides you to the exact parking space even in an indoor environment.

Watchmile includes location tracking, positioning, image recognition, obstacle/hazard detection, and vehicle movement tracking technologies. Due to the GPS signal exchange method between the device and satellites, GPS signals are very limited resources to rely on especially when the environment is indoors. Not to mention, those signals are mostly reflected and absorbed due to the surrounding metal frames and vehicles. The positioning technology developed by VEStellaLab is a technology that overcomes all of these obstacles, and it also combines image recognition technology that can determine the status of parking spaces to accurately track their location. VEStellaLab also has a map creation technology for autonomous driving. It is a technology that uses vector map technology to lighten video data and is suitable for autonomous driving.

Q. Can you introduce us to your other valuable services?

Cruising is when autonomous vehicles roam without a specific destination. We thought of the service name ‘ZeroCruising’ in the sense that helps autonomous vehicles not wander around like this, but directly go to their desired destination, the parking surface.

In one word, ‘ZeroCruising’ is indoor navigation for autonomous vehicles. If we process a little bit of data in the parking lot for people, it can be fully used in autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles can park themselves, but there is no information on the current situation in the parking lot and the empty parking surface. That’s why autonomous vehicles must wander in the parking lot like humans, complementing this to eliminate trial and error areas for finding empty parking spaces, and giving you a route to unexpected situations in the parking lot.

Even in the event of unexpected factors or blind spots that may not be identified by sensors of autonomous vehicles such as children and pets, we think ‘ZeroCruising’ can provide this safety information to an autonomous vehicle.

Q. What’s the one thing you want VEStellaLab to be known for?

VEStellaLab aims to become the future of the mobility industry by providing all indoor spatial information that GPS signals cannot reach.

One of VEStellaLab’s V2I platform projects is parking lots, and it will further expand its services to logistics center warehouses, ships, or ports, and will provide directions to users in any indoor space that does not have GPS. For this, it will be necessary to further refine VEStellaLab’s precise positioning technology, vision AI object recognition technology, and data lightening technology to the world’s best level. To this end, our development teams are focusing on improving positioning accuracy and object recognition.

Q. So, what’s next for VEStellaLab?

The need for solutions to solve parking problems is emerging in many areas. In particular, in the smart city industry, smart parking solutions are presented as essential tasks, so various collaborations with construction companies, smart homes, automotive companies, and autonomous driving solution providers will be carried out in the future.

We plan to enter the North American market and introduce airport parking lots and large-scale buildings in metropolitan cities.

Q. Is there anything else you want us to highlight that we might have missed?

The V2I communication platform can be widely applied, not only to the autonomous driving area for vehicles but also to all means of autonomous driving. We strongly believe that our V2I communication technology can be expanded to the robot area. It is expected to fully function in the smart logistics and factory industries where autonomous robots are currently actively used.

Dr. Sangsu Jung | Founder & CEO

Dr. Sangsu Jung strives to innovate automotive and mobile industries based on data science and AIoT technology. He received his Ph.D. in information and communications engineering from KAIST, Korea, in 2010. Prior to founding VEStellaLab, he served as the CEO at MtoV, a manager at KT, a leading researcher for future Internet technology at National Institute for Mathematical Sciences, and a postdoc researcher at KAIST. He has filed or been granted more than 200 patents, as the inventor and co-inventor.

“Watchmile does not just navigate you to the building but navigates you to the parking lot, and the actual final destination, and conveniently guides you to the exact parking space even in an indoor environment.”