Cleantech Disruptors — An interview with Konstantin Berezin, Co-Founder and COO of Caaresys
Cleantech Disruptors is a series of interviews showcasing innovative cleantech startups, who through the development of disruptive technologies are changing the future.
Caaresys is an Israeli startup developing vehicle passenger monitoring systems based on contactless low emission radio frequency radar. They were recently awarded a grant from Horizon 2020 and were recognised as one of the EUSP2020 top 50 startups! They have participated in a prestigious programs like STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play and were finalists in TechCrunch Disrupt SF.
The business was started in 2017 to save people’s lives, particularly those of children through their ‘hot car solution’, which should be an industry standard in the next 5 years.
I chatted with Konstantin Berezin, Co-Founder and COO of Caaresys about the inspiration for the business, it’s evolution and how their product will save many lives in the future.
What was the inspiration?
I am a serial entrepreneur, and I love cars, but also at the time of founding the company I had recently become a father, as had 2 of the other 3 founders, so this was the driving force. We realised that through technology we had the ability to stop the deadly situation of children being left in hot cars. Secondly, I’m a very green person, and activist and am passionate about the environment, and the environmental applications of the technology have the potential to have a huge impact in the smart city agenda by reducing the number of vehicles on our roads on a global scale.
As well as developing the child present system, BabyCaare™ — child presence detection system, we also use radar to detect and monitor vital signs to determine post trauma condition post impact, and also have a more day-to-day functionality of counting the number of occupants inline with smart city transformations of high occupancy vehicle lanes which are becoming more frequent in cities across the globe. The aim of this is to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, creating cleaner, greener, more efficient cities.
We decided on radar for a number of reasons, but a key one is the privacy issues around using cameras which change country by country, whereas with radar there are no privacy issues and therefore much less regulatory and legislative barriers to tackle.
In order for cities to be smarter, they need to understand the number of passengers in vehicles and thus on the roads, in order to see the bigger picture, increase efficiency of road planning, reduce the environmental impact of travel and decrease congestion.
In some cities external cameras try to do this, but there are many flaws in this system and it’s extremely hard to monitor. High occupancy lanes will require drivers to have multiple occupants and to have this technology in their vehicle to use them.
In what way are you ‘disrupting’ the industry?
Although radar technology is far from new, we have a number of patents on the innovative software and algorithms we use to extract the signal from the radar and the ability to differentiate between various vital signs such as the difference between general noises and heartbeats.
Disruption is often the ability to find applications of technology that others haven’t considered. As a start-up the idea is to move fast, keep looking forward and don’t check the rear-view mirror for the others chasing you. Basically, keep running in the right direction!
How does it save lives?
Globally, hundreds of children die each year from being accidentally left in hot cars. If a child is left in a car, our system will sense this and trigger a chain of events to save the child’s life. It will initially open the windows, turn on the AC, beep the horn and send an alert to your phone, which with no response triggers an emergency services alert with the GPS location of the vehicle so they can be saved as fast as possible.
Another potentially life saving application, is the use of the same technology in planes. We can detect the passengers’ vital signs during a flight and alert staff of an issue before it may be raised by the passenger. It also has the potential to save airlines a huge amount of money. The cost of turning a plane around over the Atlantic is astronomical — perhaps opening an airport at night, finding accommodation for passengers, fines, fuel etc. It also increases the chance of avoiding emergencies and reduces the risk of the other passengers.
Due to the lengthy cycle of OEMs in car manufacturing this should hopefully be widely adopted by 2022/23, which will be the major milestone for Caaresys. As a tech company, and not a manufacturing company we will partner with manufacturing giants to bring this market.
Covid has and will continue to have a huge impact on the automotive industry and has changed both the entire supply chain and the priorities and demands of the consumer. It is influencing the behaviour of people, the amount they travel, the way in which they travel and their priorities. There are major advancements in electric vehicles, car sharing, ride hailing and last mile, as well as a widely felt and significant increase in the focus on safety, consciousness and environmental concern.
Watch Konstantin talking about the product here!