Bike lane object-detection tech one of three winners in DCx challenge

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Three startups that have developed public-safety technologies will split $20,000 in research and development funding after winning a competition led by the D.C. Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the office announced Thursday.

The winners of the competition, called DCx, were honored earlier this month after a four-month challenge aimed at getting companies to develop apps that could support the city’s public health and public safety missions.

Two of the three products developed by the competition winners rely on object recognition technology. Those are Safe Lane, a mobile app powered by machine learning that can identify blockages in bike lanes, and Public Safety Sensor Fusion, a mobile app that can help public safety agencies determine the exact location of an incident.

The third product, called the Self-Action For Everyone, or S.A.F.E, card, is a credit-card-sized internet-connected device that can share location and personal health data with first responders at the touch of a button. 

The competition announced the three semifinalists in August, and each won approximately $5,000. All three semifinalists were ultimately voted in as winners, and they’ll share an additional $20,000 in prize money put up by the nonprofit U.S. Ignite and the Smart Gigabit Communities program, a National Science Foundation subsidiary.

“DCx, and the previous GigabitDCx, have been a successful introduction to innovation challenges for OCTO and our partners, and we look forward to growing this program, reaching more innovators in DC, and truly working with our tech community to solve real challenges in the District,” District Chief Technology Officer Lindsey Parker said in a press release.

In addition to announcing the competition winners, the city unveiled hubdc.tech, a new website where OCTO and the mayor’s office will share information on technology-related community events and announcements. There, users will be able to see information on startups, find workspaces or learn new skills, the city says, with the goal of helping “local innovators turn ideas into real solutions through public challenges.”

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Civic Tech, DC OCTO, DCx, Lindsey Parker, Public Safety, startups, Washington D.C.
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