BY Alex Uytenbogaardt 2 MINUTE READ

Artificial intelligence (AI) – the buzzword that has sparked both excitement and fear – has found a solid footing in Africa thr-ough sci-tech company Africa Business Integration (ABI). Embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution with full force, Co-founders Thabo Koee and Tebogo Nakampe started ABI with the sole purpose of providing key computer integration solutions to businesses on the continent. “The aim is to help businesses adopt new hardware and software tools to harness the full power of computational innovations,” says Thabo. “We’re on a scientific mission to push the boundaries of computer vision in Africa.” 

Smart software

As AI research scientists themselves, Thabo and Tebogo have fine-tuned ABI’s mission to specifically focus on developing interactive software that can be used as a complex problem solver. “The programmes will process human gestures as computational input,” says Thabo. “Our software uses advanced machine and deep learning, integrated with physics, to learn to solve any complex problem without needing to be taught how.” One of the most successful projects to come out of ABI is the XR DriveSim in collaboration with Intel AI. The simulator houses an augmented steering wheel that is activated by hand movements. It allows users to drive along virtual roads in 3D, offering an immersive environmental experience for anyone wanting to polish up on their driving technique.“Given the fact that road traffic crashes are the main cause of death among people aged between 15 and 29 years, what we aimed to do with XR DriveSim was to use the power of AI to encourage immersive driving lessons and enhance vehicle safety standard regulations,” says Thabo. “How we measure the success of this project is based on the system’s accuracy when it comes to gesture recognition. On normal RGB cameras, 95% of the hand gestures are recognised with low latency. Using our Intel RealSense RGB+D Cameras, 99% of the hand gestures are recognised with low latency — a 4% difference in accuracy.”

Data, data, data

Data is a powerful weapon. It’s the Xcalibur of the Information Age. Aware of such power, ABI is tapping into it as a major resource to further benefit businesses and their consumers. “To unlock new value for our clients, we begin by demystifying data that was previously in a digital silo or hidden,” says Thabo. “We use computer vision devices, sensors and analytics to activate real-time data streams and unearth, mobilise and monetise their data.” ABI further shares this resource with other businesses in order to better equip them when it comes to dealing with pertinent information about their individual consumer bases. “We provide turnkey solutions for clients who do not have the resources to build a complete computer vision (CV) solution in-house,” he says. “A typical CV project often requires an extensive data collection effort, thoughtful dataset design for training and testing, research and development for implementing the state-of-the-art solution, and finally deploying a system that will easily integrate with the client’s existing systems.” Due to the high demand in ABI’s services, new systems are currently in the pipeline to better serve their clientele. Not bad for a smart solutions company that only started two years ago.  

Read more in the March/April issue of Fast Company South Africa.