This AI model spots workplace accidents before they happen

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In 2021, there were over 3000 fatal and 2.9 million non-fatal accidents in workplaces across the EU. Over a fifth of these, perhaps unsurprisingly, occurred within the construction sector. All of them, in theory, were preventable. 

Stockholm-based startup Buddywise has built a set of computer vision models that scan a workplace and warn you of potentially dangerous situations. The AI platform sends out emergency alerts in the event of an injury or death. The company says it’s working towards a “zero-injury future”.   

“Everybody should be able to return home unharmed after a day’s work, so we can’t accept the status quo,” said Lamin Faye, co-founder and CEO at Buddywise, who previously worked for 11 years at wind energy giant Vattenfall, including as VP of safety and digitisation. 

Buddywise team, Lamin Faye centre. Credit: Buddywise

Buddywise has just secured €3.5mn in seed funding as it looks to bring its solution to workplaces across Europe. The round was led by Swedish AI fund J12 and Helsinki-based Kvanted, as well as angel investors including Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss, the founder of Soundcloud and ebike subscription service Dance.

“Recent advancements in computer vision models have seen great improvements in image classification and object detection,” said Emmet King, partner at J12. “This has positioned the technology to be the primary tool to replace the status quo of reporting apps, inspections, and sensors.”

The startup’s AI model analyses images in real time. All it needs is some cameras and WiFi. It can identify numerous risks, from a forklift driving recklessly, a person who’s slipped and fallen, or someone who forgot to wear their hard hat again (we’re looking at you, Joe). It can even tell if workers have bad posture.  

Before you freak out that you’re going to be ratted out to your boss by AI, Buddywise ensures us that all the data is anonymous. Unlike many monitoring systems that store all video captured, its algorithm analyses video feeds in real time, without storing data. “No facial recognition is used and we never identify subjects,” the company says on its website.  

All this info gets fed into a dashboard, where you can measure your safety performance over time. You can tell the AI to focus on certain risks and to only send alerts for the types of incidents you want it to.  

Armed with fresh capital, Buddywise aims to grow its team with “top tech talent” and expand its customer base across Europe. The startup says its solution has already been adopted at industrial sites across Sweden, Finland, Latvia, and Poland, covering industries ranging from infrastructure and manufacturing to pulp and paper.

Update (09: 30 CET, March 25, 2024):  We previously referred to Buddywise’s tech as an algorithm. However, it is not just one algorithm but many models integrated into a platform. 

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