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Estonian road infrastructure AI startup EyeVi Technologies raises €1.8M and prepares to enter the US market

Estonian-founded startup EyeVi, which provides imaging hardware and a mapping analysis software platform, raised €1.8M as it prepares to enter the US market with the intention to grab a piece of its massive infrastructure investment.

EyeVi’s seed-round funding was led by ff Venture Capital, with the participation of RKKVC, Decacorn Capital, Iron Wolf Capital, Superangel, Spring Capital, Kaamos Group, and several Estonian business angels including Väino Kaldoja, the founder of AuveTech, and Taavi Rõivas, Estonia’s former prime minister. EyeVi Technologies, which already operates in six European countries, will use the funds to deepen existing operations and establish new operations in the US market.

“Our main objective this year is to establish a foothold in the US market; we already have a presence in the market and received some extremely positive feedback from our visit a couple of weeks ago,” says EyeVi’s founder and CEO Gaspar Anton. “The United States government is preparing large investments in infrastructure, and with that in mind, we see great potential in storming the US market. We can provide a great deal of added value in this regard, as until recently data about roads was collected without any geolocation information. Now, high-accuracy 3D and 4D data for road infrastructure can be provided, and every detail on the road can be reviewed and assessed with a millimeter or centimeter accuracy. In the near future, it will be possible to even see inside the road and evaluate the health of the road by scanning its chemical matrix,” Anton adds.

Anton and EyeVi share the objective to reach a stage where all infrastructure mapping companies that gather such data, start uploading their data to EyeVi’s platform. “Whoever it may be, whether they look into road surfaces, analyse chemical components or landforms – we aim to collect those datasets on our platform, as we are a digital data provider.”

Helping to save millions

EyeVi is a data processing platform based on artificial intelligence. “Our objective is to make the use of money meant for road repairs more efficient than it is today,” Anton explains. “Using the processed data from our platform, our clients can use machine-learning-based analytics to predict the need for road maintenance, whereby the required work can be completed before the road actually breaks and costs are much lower overall. In a nutshell, the money can be used as much as 100 times more efficiently. This is important as there is no additional money for road repairs; therefore, we need to find sustainable solutions,” he adds. According to Anton, one such opportunity is data analysis based on machine learning.

The objective of road network analysis is to figure out where cracks or other defects may appear. “Holes are visible, but erosion, subsidence, and other similar things are not. We are able to locate and detect defects so that our clients can run analyses on how large budget is reasonable to fix them,” says Anton. “If defects are not fixed immediately, then fixing them in a year will be 20 times more expensive,” he explains EyeVi’s value.

EyeVi’s platform is currently being used in six countries, including the Norwegian capital Oslo. “There, we were able to digitize 14 types of objects,” Anton says. “It took us a month to build a digital data layer for every business interested in using it in Oslo.”

EyeVi also operates in Estonia, the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Poland. “We used our platform to process between 6,000 and 7,000 kilometres of datasets last year in the United Kingdom alone,” Anton says. “Our overall mileage last year was 32,000 km; our aim for this year is 150,000 and after that a million.”

Google and Apple are the benchmarks

EyeVi hopes to take advantage of the development of self-driving vehicle technology as well as smart city simulations. “EyeVi is targeting those two sectors with the platform. We have one client – AuveTech – a developer of self-driving vehicle technology,” Anton says. “Self-driving vehicle technology requires well-maintained roads. Therefore, we are providing AuveTech with a digital copy of the road network so that self-driving vehicles can effectively and safely use their self-driving mode.”

They are also looking towards Central and Southern Europe. “Smart city development and self-driving vehicle technology require detailed datasets to operate; quite soon we will also talk about self-piloting drones – all of these things require data,” says Anton on EyeVi’s wide client base.

They are also looking at African and Asian markets. “We did a few pilot projects in these markets. We know that we want to become one of the world’s greatest providers of detailed infrastructure data,” Anton outlines EyeVi’s objectives. “We aim to overtop Google and Apple in terms of data – we would be the place to where all infrastructure mapping companies upload their data,” he adds.

“While Google and Apple have the advantage of owning lots of finances, our speed and innovation, something that is possible only at a startup, allows us to take monumental leaps very quickly,” Anton says confidently. “Our niche is different as well – while those companies collect universal spatial data, we specialize in infrastructure details, we know the associated concerns and technologies. This provides us with a competitive advantage.”

Anton highlighted traffic regulations as a possible development trend. “We want to contribute to ensuring that self-driving vehicles have an unequivocal comprehension of traffic regulations.”

Wide-ranging cooperation with the British

EyeVi’s ambitions are helped by wide-ranging cooperation in a number of countries. Great Britain is the perfect example, where they have partnered with XAIS, an asset management company that evaluates and maximizes the quality of motorways. “The solutions that each company has developed is a perfect match to the other and this creates fantastic synergy between the two organizations,“ says James Wallis, Managing Director of XAIS.

XAIS operates and gathers data using EyeVi systems. “Our engineers analyse data gathered and processed by EyeVi with our decision support tool to give a good overview of road status and allow decision-makers to prepare the most optimal budgets for road maintenance,” Wallis clarifies. Over 45 local road authorities in the United Kingdom are listed as XAIS partners.

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