Back in March of this year you may have read on TMCnet that GFR opened a new $20M investment fund and invested in a company called Sturfee. The computer vision/AI solutions company just emerged from stealth with the launch of its City AR technology, which uses satellite imagery and a mobile device to visually recognize the streets around you and digitally enhance them for applications ranging from navigation, tourism, ride-sharing, gaming, outdoor advertising and marketing.
Sturfee has created a computer vision solution that is trained to recognize places on the ground using images from satellites circling the globe. The computer vision platform empowers a user’s camera to instantly recognize surroundings and pull 3D building geometry and ground plane data derived from the satellite sources to give AR applications city-scale spatial understanding. The result is a highly scalable solution capable of powering AR across entire geographies.
Until Sturfee, city-scale computer vision solutions have relied on ground-based scanning using either the devices themselves or cars going up and down the streets – all with help from people. “These are operationally intensive approaches and very costly to scale. With our technology, we can create machine-readable version of San Francisco in just a week, and detect and update any city changes even quicker,” said Anil Cheriyadat, CEO, Sturfee.
Sturfee’s cloud technology currently powers 15 cities on three continents with many more coming soon. Sturfee is production-ready and has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Japan’s second largest cellular service provider, KDDI Corp, to bring Sturfee’s Visual Positioning Service (VPS) to all major metropolitan areas. In addition, Sturfee has already received orders to integrate the technology with smartphones, wearables and 5G services, and counts some of the world’s largest application companies and smartphone manufacturers among its customers. Offered as a ‘VPS’ cloud service, Sturfee’s AR City platform for developers is a major step forward to 3D location understanding from the traditional GPS 2D mappings. With a smartphone camera connecting to the VPS service, an application can recognize and orient itself to the user’s surroundings in 3D — in real-time.
Here are some of the smartphone applications being built on Sturfee technology:
- “See” when your Uber is coming.
- Outdoor advertising, which has long used a one-size-fit all approach from the print era, can finally be personalized, interactive, and trackable as it is on the web.
- AR directions that lead to the next meeting on time.
- In the coming AR wearables world, digital assistants like Alexa and Siri can take on an actual form, walk alongside people, point out highlights and even grab a menu from a restaurant down the street.
- Leave a digital note on the side of an interesting landmark, it will persist day after day for others to read – literally allowing people to make their marks on these new digital AR cities.
“As we move toward the 5G era and address spatial computing, we will create a new communication scene and with Sturfee we will build a variety of new experiences that will thrill our customers. We envision digital signage and navigation linked to location information, as well as advertising, entertainment, art and education,” said Yasuhisa Yamada, Director of Personal Business Sector, KDDI.
Sturfee has already covered San Francisco, Manhattan, San Jose, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and Dubai so developers can start to create city AR applications now.
We are impressed with what the company has accomplished. This tech looks very promising.