Mighty AI, which helps companies improve their artificial-intelligence technology, opened a second office in Detroit to be near major and emerging auto companies working on self-driving cars.
Seattle startup Mighty AI opened its second office in a new city this week, and the usual tech hot spots of Silicon Valley and New York didn’t make the cut.
Instead, Mighty AI is now open for business in Detroit — the best place to be near major and emerging auto companies working on self-driving cars, said CEO Matt Bencke.
Mighty AI, formerly known as Spare 5, helps companies improve their artificial-intelligence technology by training and “cleaning” data so the technology gets more things right more often.
The 45-person startup has been working with more than a dozen auto companies, ranging from traditional giants to cutting-edge newcomers, to make sure their autonomous vehicles operate smartly and safely.
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The stakes are high with self-driving cars. Sensors must be able to identify the exact location of other cars, tell when a light turns yellow and spot a cyclist weaving out of a line of cars.
Mighty AI’s approach, which blends technology and human helpers, can teach machines the difference between a pedestrian and a plastic bag, for example.
“We can do this in a safe environment, in a lab, and not on a road,” Bencke said.
The market is heating up as more companies such as Tesla, Uber and Toyota develop autonomous cars. In Bellevue on Wednesday, Gov. Jay Inslee signed an executive order to allow companies to begin testing self-driving cars on Washington roads. Michigan has similar regulations.
It became important for Mighty AI to be as close to its customers as possible, said Bencke, who didn’t disclose which auto companies and suppliers Mighty AI works with.
“Our customers feel like they’re in a race against time, they’re in a race against each other,” he said. “We save them wasted time. It’s just easier to do that when you’re in the room.”
Mighty AI, which has raised more than $27 million from investors including Madrona Venture Group, recently hired its first employee in Detroit and plans to grow to a team of six by the end of the year.