A Canberra-based company which grew from a collaboration between two engineers in an ANU robotics laboratory 19 years ago has won the 2019 ACT Exporter of the Year award.
Fyshwick-based computer vision technology company Seeing Machines achieved a significant milestone this year when it was awarded tier one supplier status with the Swedish-based international automotive safety company Autoliv.
The company is now working on eight programs with six vehicle makers around the world: two in Germany, three in North America - including General Motors' Cadillac division - and another in China.
More recently it signed a deal with Alaska Airlines to improve pilot training with gaze-tracking technology that helps instructors understand pilot behaviour.
It has partnered with D&I, an industrial design and product development consultancy, to produce Fovio, eye-tracking hardware that has applications across automotive, aerospace, commercial transportation and consumer electronics.
It is regarded as a world leader in proprietary technology that measures and tracks the gaze of the driver's eye, head position, eyelid movements and pupil size to detect whether the driver is drowsy or distracted.
The system can be integrated with advanced driver assistance systems to intervene at critical times to avoid a crash.
The first of the company's driver monitoring systems is expected to be in production from 2022.
The company's chief executive officer, Paul McGlone, told investors in London last month total revenue expected to flow from these automotive programs would top $200 million as it moved out of the research and development phase into production.
Seeing Machines's technology is saving lives around the globe, and has intervened in over 115,000 fatigue-related events which may have had fatal consequences for drivers and their passengers. Clients using the technology include interstate transport company Finemores, and earthmoving and heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.
Dr Michael Schaper, the former deputy chair at the ACCC who now heads the Canberra Business Chamber, said the awards were to "celebrate the innovation, hard work and success of ACT businesses in reaching new global markets".
"These businesses are generating new job opportunities, career growth, income and additional skills to Canberra and the capital region," he said.
"They're helping to diversify our economy and turn our city into a truly entrepreneurial community."
In 2018, Canberra businesses exported more than $2.2 billion of products and services, a 10 per cent increase over the previous year.
Seeing Machines was one of 15 businesses whose export success was recognised at the awards. Each of these category winners will go on to represent the ACT at the National Export Awards in December.
- ACT Exporter of the Year: Seeing Machines
- Agribusiness, food and beverages: The House of Alpaca
- Creative industries: Thylacine Design & Project Management
- E-commerce: Today's Plan
- Emerging exporter: Link Digital
- Manufacturing and advanced materials: ECLIPS
- Minerals, energy and related services: Ardexa
- Professional services: Biometix
- Regional exporter: Telsoft
- Small business: Kinetic Performance Technology
- Sustainability: Sustineo
- Technology and innovation: Seeing Machines (Instaclustr, highly commended)
- Exporting government solutions (ACT only category): Sustineo
- Exporting to Asia (ACT only category): Telsoft