It can spot any scratch or dent. It is capable of detecting any oil leak or source of corrosion. It is even smart enough to check the condition of your tires and tell if the pressure is in line with producer’s recommendations. An Israeli start-up, UVeye, uses deep learning to support professionals in effective vehicle inspection
The idea to use artificial intelligence to inspect vehicles was born four years ago when a car of Amir Hever, CEO of UVeye, was going through a routine check at one of Israeli parking lots.
“I asked the man checking the undercarriage of my car if he could even see anything,” says Hever. “He said he couldn’t but he had to follow the safety protocol. He explained that if something happened to me while I was inside the building they would watch camera recordings to see if he had tried to do his job. And then I thought that something was wrong.”
Helios the bomb detector
Hever is specialized in machine vision and has gained experience in several technology companies. He decided to set up a start-up company that would use deep learning and automated image analysis to quickly and effectively perform vehicle safety inspections. That was how UVeye was born.
The first product developed by the company was Helios, an automatic underbody inspection system making it possible to detect presence of weapons, explosives or drugs. Originally designed for security services, Helios has soon proved useful at motor vehicle inspection stations. It is capable of detecting oil leaks, rust, and other types of damage.
“A bomb hidden in an undercarriage has no standard shape, color or size,” explains Hever. “And you also have different car types and models. This is why we had to build something very generic that would work for all the vehicles. So we taught a program how all the undercarriage components should look like and how to detect potential anomalies. Oil leaks and rust are different in texture, for instance. This is how we drew the attention of the automotive industry to our solution.
Fast and curious
Over time, more products have been added to the UVeye’s offer. Artemis is a system fitted with two scanners to inspect tires. It identifies the model of tires and checks if the pressure is in line with producer’s recommendations. Additionally, it can identify frays and scratches and tell to what extent tires are worn. All that can be done under twenty seconds.
Another system developed by UVeye makes it possible to scan the car body for all kind of damage, such as scratches or dents, even if they are 1 mm small. The system can also recognize broken or improperly fitted parts. That might come in handy next time you buy a car!
However, for now, UVeye’s products have been mostly sold to business. The software developed by the Israeli start-up has lured companies from different sectors: from car manufacturers, to car rentals and entities managing fleets of vehicles, to sellers and garages.
“We are now cooperating with Škoda, Volvo, Toyota, Daimler, and one more company whose name cannot be revealed yet,” says Amir Hever. “We know that other car manufacturers are also very interested in what we do. We will probably start to cooperate with some of them this year.”
Avoiding salesman’s tricks
Hever has also revealed that his company has been working on an engine check solution. Unlike other UVeye’s systems, it will not use machine vision, but sound sensors. With that method, it will diagnose if all parts work properly. Although the product has been in a testing phase, it is to be commercialized soon.
But what about everyday drivers? Will they also get a chance to use the tools created by Israeli entrepreneurs?
“Although right now our focus is on B2B, we hope that in the future we will be able to deploy our systems in places you usually go to, such as malls for example,” explains Hever. “So as to make it possible for everyone to quickly inspect their car after entering a parking lot.”
If that happens, used-car salesmen beware! A watchful eye of the machine will see through your tricks!