Smarter AI’s Chris Piche Talks Driver Assistance and Dash Cams

AI dashcam recording road

MP recently spoke with Chris Piche, a Canadian computer scientist and technology entrepreneur. He is an expert in peer-to-peer networking, scalable video, and computer vision technologies, having created services including AT&T TV, BBM Video, Poly Video, and STUN/TURN/ICE. Piche has been awarded Best of Internet World, Canada’s Top Young Leader, and Top 40 under 40. He is the Founder of Smarter AI, a player in software-defined AI cameras and enablement software.

Chris Piche Smarter AI headshot
Smarter AI’s Chris Piche / Photo courtesy of Chris Piche

Smarter AI

MP: What is Smarter AI, and why is it unique?

CP: Smarter AI is a software platform for AI cameras that enables cameras to be programmed for different use cases. Our company prides itself on state-of-the-art solutions that can be used to equip users with the data needed to make the right decisions.

How did you build a successful customer base?

Smarter AI has successful partnerships with multiple developers of AI models for commercial video telematics, including Brodmann17, Cochl, Edgetensor, General Magic, Irida Labs, Jungo Connectivity, and PathPartner.

Smarter AI’s cameras scale camera use cases by enabling users to download AI models, similar to how you would download apps on a mobile phone.

We have worked to create long-lasting relationships by providing solutions that last. Together with our AI model partners, we deliver precision AI for new and legacy cameras with Smarter AI Dashcams, Smarter AI Gateways, and other leading AI camera systems powered by the Smarter AI Platform.

What experience did you want customers to have when thinking about and interacting with Smarter AI, and why?

Smarter AI wants to equip its users with precision AI for trusted data and decisions while navigating busy freeways. The company prides itself on prioritizing safety and hopes for the equipment to help a variety of use cases, whether for the everyday driver or even logistics-based companies.

What are five road safety statistics you can share with us as they relate to the problem Smarter AI solves?

  • There are two high-level problems – complacent driving and distracted driving.
  • Driving recklessly and disregarding traffic rules: 28.1%
  • Speeding: 17.2%
  • Driving while distracted: 5.9%
  • Driving while drowsy, fatigued, or ill: 2.4%

Using Smarter AI’s solutions, such as the Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), drivers are alerted if the sensors and cameras detect any distracted or reckless driving. Driver Monitoring Systems work to record and monitor a driver’s normal behavior, so it can detect any unusual behavior if it ever occurs.

Smarter AI’s dash cams utilize precision-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and driver monitoring systems (DMS). What does this mean, and why does it matter?

Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are technologies that assist drivers in driving and parking functions to increase car and road safety, detect nearby obstacles or driver errors, and respond accordingly.

Driver monitoring systems (DMS) are technologies that assess a driver’s alertness and warn the driver if needed.

Smarter AI enables commercial vehicle fleets to download AI models, including ADAS and DMS models, to support transportation safety use cases, including:

  • Driver/cabin safety
  • Urban planning/smart cities
  • Road conditions/winter operations
  • V2V / V2X

Do you believe autonomous vehicles and technology are the next big steps for major cities to be deemed smart cities?

I do believe so, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a push for safety, from public health to even being safer on the roads.

Yes, AI cameras are disrupting markets, including public safety and smart cities:

E-commerce and ridesharing are bolstering last-mile deliveries and associated drivers, many without previous commercial driving experience.

Over-reliance on driver assistance systems and smartphones leads to complacent and distracted driving.

Regulatory measures (e.g., SAFE Act) will soon require driver safety technology in commercial vehicle fleets.

Chris Piche Smarter AI headshot
Smarter AI’s Chris Piche holding Smarter AI’s technology / Photo courtesy of Chris Piche

Entrepreneurship

What are your three biggest fears as an entrepreneur, and how do you manage them?

Today, privacy is important to consider with the implementation of artificial intelligence. This type of information technology can always come at the expense of privacy. Public officials must understand AI technology and its implications to develop effective regulations that are courteous of people’s private information.

Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful leader? If so, what is it?

I believe having passion, commitment, and “leading from the front” are characteristics of all successful leaders who want to create their business.

Passion. Building technologies, teams, and businesses are hard work and certainly not for the faint of heart. Nonetheless, over the years, I’ve discovered that following my passions in the industry has led to my greatest commitment, success, and overall fulfillment. Passion for the work you are doing is imperative, as it gives you purpose and drives you to succeed, especially during challenging times.

Commitment. I refer to the Tom Clancy quote, “An overnight success is ten years in the making.” No one is an overnight success. There are years and years of unseen work and commitment behind every success story. Success takes time, and successful leaders demonstrate continuous commitment to their goals.

Leading from the Front. Successful leaders are passionate about their vision and strategies by “leading from the front.” Successful leaders must always be viewable, engaged, and accountable in good times or bad. Leaders must understand the objectives and identify key resources to accomplish the goals. It’s about having a clear mission and providing guidance and support to your team to ensure they are empowered to get the job done.

What are three obstacles you’ve faced while growing Smarter AI, and how have you overcome them?

Building technologies, teams, and businesses takes commitment and does not come without challenges. I’ve learned that when I am passionate about my work, the obstacles are easier to move through, and the effort and sacrifice are well worth it. When you enjoy what you do, you become more committed and engaged, which leads to greater success and fulfillment. Sticking to following my passions has led to my greatest success in life.