French xBrain brings the automotive industry into a new era through human-machine interaction

by bold-lichterman

Remember this name: xBrain, because it is likely to make a lot of noise in the weeks to come. Surrounded by Pierre-Noël Luiggi (founder of Oscar), Michel Balthazard (ex-Renault) Louis Monier (ex-founder of Altavista), Paul Marca (Stanford University), and other big names on the web still kept secret from his board, Grégory Renard and his team (20 people) are now ready. It took xBrain more than 16 years of research focused on artificial intelligence, so that human-machine interaction meets its market: the automobile.

It was recently at the Paris Motor Show that the French company demoed its platform, via a “starting kit” launched in 3 weeks, which allows you to interact with your personal assistant, and only by voice. “Send an e-mail to X, translate it into English… Read the Figaro news of the day, share them on my Facebook page… ” In short, a series of voice commands that meet a need: avoid using your smartphone to send SMS, or write your emails on the fly, the cause of more than 25% of accidents in the USA today! A time-to-market that Grégory Renard, CEO of xBrain, has well prepared.

Angie, Siri’s sister on Windows

Eura_xBrainFirst arrival at the Euratechnologies accelerator in Lille, xBrain (formerly XBrainSoft), had first launched Angie in 2012, an intelligent agent available on Windows, when Apple released Siri, another voice recognition solution, and based on on the same IAS (Intelligent Agent Server) platform. The launch of Angie was particularly well received, but Grégory Renard and Aurélien Verla preferred to continue their machine learning work.. Two years later, thanks to the marriage of Euratechnologies with Stanford University on a business acceleration program, Grégory moved to San Francisco, and settled a stone’s throw from the University and SRI, the Institut de Research Stanford, where was born… Siri.

“Voice recognition does not work”

The xBrain teams focus on R&D with the utmost secrecy. The new project will then be centered on an open platform that enables communication between man and machine to be activated, through voice, touch and “sensor”.

The teams worked on several building blocks of AI (artificial intelligence): “deep learning”, “deep context”, “work-around”, or even “feeling learning”. So many concepts which allow to bring a maximum of possibilities and to go further than… Siri.

The automotive market is then the first to be identified. Grégory Renard admits that 14 of the biggest automotive brands are now interested in the xBrain platform. One of the global manufacturers even called a US fund a few days ago to ask them to accelerate the financing of the French start-up … A potential client who calls for a potential investor to push technology on a large scale, it is is rarely seen in Silicon Valley!

Paul Marca, executive director at Stanford and board member said: “Their technology is ahead of the competition, and the xBrain team has all the qualities to lead a great adventure”.

But Grégory, a former volunteer firefighter, whom the familiars call “Redo”, does not want to ignite too quickly. If the platform is used by other industry players to develop its own intelligent agents, it is now necessary to “prepare” warns the young forty-something from Belgium. A fundraiser is currently underway, but will presage another much more massive fundraising, to play in the big leagues and respond to large calls for tenders. “The xBrain platform can go a long way. The automotive industry is just the first of many potential applications. The future of xBrain is also in the connected home, the connected office, or the connected factory, ”says Paul Marca.

We go much further than Angie

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25% of car crashes are caused by texting while driving in the United States

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We want to make innovation free and accessible, while remaining the owner of its data

Gregory Fox

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The business model based on licensing, and the creation of tailor-made modules

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