The Tehnopol AI workshop is providing some 300,000 euros to fund artificial intelligence projects at seven companies

The AI workshop run by the Tehnopol Science and Business Park gave funding to seven companies to develop their AI projects, and a total of around 300,000 euros is being invested in pilot projects.

There were 15 teams working on their projects at the two-day workshop, and their work was led by experienced mentors and experts in artificial intelligence. Project plans and the results of work were presented to a panel of experts at the end of the workshop, and the teams chosen by the panel received funding to bring their projects to life.

Business Service Manager at Tehnopol Martin Goroško noted there were more than 40 applications to this round of the workshop and the projects chosen in it stood out for their need for complex and innovative AI. “It was great to see that the level of the pilot projects is getting better and better with each workshop. The challenges requiring AI applications were this time more technically complex, and the application of artificial intelligence was linked to a leap in growth in the business of these companies. AI is clearly a hot topic at the moment and companies are increasingly interested in how they can use it to make their businesses more futureproof”, he said, adding that the AI development programme is in line with the Tehnopol goal of supporting companies that change the world.

Challenges were brought to the workshop by Hansab, Augmental Technologies, Digital Sputnik Lighting, Folderit, GScan, Moticheck, Polite, Rexplorer, Seventh Sense, Soundfree, Tänavapuhastuse AS, Werk IT, DriveX Technologies, EnLife, and TEMPEST.

Searching for solutions to them were Net Group, Fliprender, Progmatic, MindTitan, Glassbox Technologies, Codelive, Superhands, and Flowit.

The members of the panel were Andri Haran from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Juhan Madis Pukk from Flowit, Katre Eljas from the AIRE-EDIH artificial intelligence and robotics hub, Linda Võeras of Karma Ventures, and Juhan-Peep Ernits from Tallinn University of Technology.

Funding for bringing the pilot projects to life went to:

  • Rexplorer, 24,000 euros for identifying potential for solar panels on the roofs of large buildings using satellite data.
  • WerkIT, 25,000 euros for smart analysis of the skills and productivity of staff to help businesses make better management decisions.
  • Hansab, 30,000 euros for predicting when cash cassettes in ATMs will need to be refilled.
  • Seventh Sense, 34,700 euros for helping the visually impaired through mapping and prediction of trajectories in traffic.
  • Augmental Technologies, 40,000 euros for documentation and visualisation of physiotherapy sessions so that recommendations for treatment can be prepared automatically.
  • DriveX Technologies, 58,000 euros for predicting the need for repairs to cars from pictures.
  • GScan, 75,000 euros for reconstructing spaces as 3D models from the trajectories of subatomic particles.

The co-founder and head of technology at GScan, Märt Mägi, explained that the AI workshop was a wonderful initiative. “For Estonian companies to remain competitive globally, we need to improve our products and services and optimise the internal processes within businesses. AI is an ideal solution for achieving all of this. The AI workshop organised by Tehnopol and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications is a great chance for companies to take a week to search for AI-based solutions to their problems. They get support in this from business mentors and AI mentors and if they do not have enough AI skills within the company, they can find a partner to cooperate with. GScan has in-house AI skills, but even we involved a powerful cooperation partner MindTitan, as we do not have enough resources for development to achieve everything immediately, and it is sometimes good for a fresh pair of eyes from the outside to give a new perspective on your challenges. Participating in the AI workshop was in every way a very interesting experience, a week of high intensity and immediate feedback. If only everything could happen so fast!”, he said.

CEO of DriveX Technologies Rauno Sigur commented that the AI workshop easily exceeded their expectations. “The experts in the workshop and the business and technical perspectives were a great help to us in planning our project and fine tuning it. It was also very inspiring to hear the ideas of other companies. The competition was intense, and that made us try even harder! We would recommend the AI workshop to larger companies that are able to define their business challenges well, but that still understand you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. It is a wonderful opportunity to join the Tehnopol workshop together with technology firms with great reputations. It is also a very good platform for startup firms that need a boost for their innovative products”, he said, adding that the support they received from Tehnopol means they can bring their products to market earlier than planned and gain a competitive advantage within the market.

Companies can be part of the next round of the Tehnopol AI Accelerator in October. Applications are open to start-up companies registered in Estonia and spin-off teams from established companies, and to teams of researchers and students whose ideas and solutions use artificial intelligence and are aimed at industrial or data-intensive companies. All the companies chosen for the AI accelerator will receive 10,000 euros in funding to help realise their development projects.

The AI workshop and the accelerator are part of the Tehnopol AI development programme that was first proposed by the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Communications. The AI development programme will run four workshops in 2023 and 2024, at which funding will be given to AI development projects.

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