ANN ARBOR, MI — A mobility startup that predicts pedestrian behavior has received a grant to launch a pilot program in Ann Arbor.

Intvo was among six recipients of $60,000 grants offered through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s PlanetM Mobility Grant program. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the winners of the third round of grants Wednesday, Aug. 7.

Founder Assam Alzookery launched the company in May 2018 to focus on predicting and understanding human behaviors in crowded environments for autonomous vehicle technology. Alzookery said the critical information that current systems are missing is the intention of pedestrians.

“Are these people distracted? If they are … we need to pay attention to them more closely, take that information … and feed that information to the vehicle to provide a warning to the driver,” Alzookery said. “And (the driver) has to pay attention to the person before any accident can occur.”

The company is collaborating with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute to deploy their technology on Ann Arbor streets.

The company is launching a six-month pilot with UM to test the technology on Plymouth Road between Huron Parkway and Ford Road.

“At Intvo, we are striving to ensure a safe road environment and ease the lives of all individuals. Our smart vision software pushes the boundaries of autonomous technology in the existing market and enhances the robustness of the autonomous vehicle’s vision,” Alzookery said in a news release.

“Greater distractions, especially from digital technologies, are responsible for a recent rise in pedestrian casualties. This pilot would accelerate the widespread adoption of Intvo’s technology, which will improve the safety of an increasingly distracted world.”

The UM Transportation Research Institute current has technology that can detect pedestrians in a crosswalk and broadcast a safety message to any vehicle equipped with dedicated short-range communications, according to a news release. Intvo’s software goes a step further by enabling early detection and predictions to drivers.

“We’re providing the software, which will predict pedestrian behavior. Our job is enhancing the current system that UMTRI has already deployed in Ann Arbor,” Alzookery said.

Article by Dana Afana –