Derq, a Dubai-based startup developing technology to reduce road accidents, has raised a $1.5 million seed round from undisclosed investors. The company is using the investment to further develop its technology and grow its team in Dubai. It’s also expanding to the U.S. where it has opened an office in Detroit, the de facto capital of the U.S. automotive industry.
Using artificial intelligence and vehicle-to-vehicle communications, Derq is creating proprietary technology that can predict and prevent car accidents for both conventional and autonomous vehicles. It’s a technology that should gain increased importance as the development of autonomous vehicles picks up speed.
Derq originally started out as a project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the U.S. It was spun out into a company in 2016 by three founders: Georges Aoude, Amer Abufadel and Karl Jeanbart. The company has also graduated from Techstars Mobility, a startup program in the U.S. focused on innovation in the automotive, trucking and transportation industries.
In the region, Derq recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Smart Dubai Office, the Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. Together they seek to deploy Derq’s technology on roads at Dubai Silicon Oasis and other areas, including tram crossings.
“Dubai is at the forefront of adopting innovative technologies that focus on improving road safety and autonomous vehicle deployments. We’re honored to be working with Smart Dubai Office, Roads and Transport Authority and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority to implement Derq’s road safety technology in Dubai’s Silicon Oasis and other areas of Dubai,” said Aoude, Derq’s CEO, in a press release.
It’s all part of an effort to eliminate preventable fatalities on the road. The startup cites statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 1.25 million people die from road accidents around the world every year—an average of 3,400 deaths every day.