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Start-up YoGoKo

AB - 2/09/2015

YoGoKo, towards an innovative platform for intelligent transport

At the dawn of the age of the connected and cooperative vehicle, the issue of means of communication between different equipments is an urgent one. The start-up YoGoKo - twice prize-winner at the i-Lab competition - already has a promising "all-in-one" solution. Its CEO, Thierry Ernst, explains.

What is the DNA of your company?

Thierry Ernst : YoGoKo (You Go, we Konnect) was officially born in June 2014. However, the company that proposes innovative communication solutions for vehicles and road networks is in fact the result of over 10 years of research and experiments carried out by three public laboratories : the CAOR (Robotics Centre) at Mines Paris Tech, Télécom Bretagne and IMARA (now RITS) at Inria Rocquencourt. Moreover the governance of the start-up reflects this triple origin. Emmanuel Thierry, the managing director, is in fact a former engineer at Télécom Bretagne. For my part, I was initially a research engineer at IMARA before joining the CAOR, and I headed the LaRA group (The Automated Road) - a joint project between the two laboratories during this period.

Where do you stand with the project?

Thierry Ernst : For several years, the three laboratories have been committed to the development of a shared demonstrator combining a service platform, fleets of both conventional and autonomous vehicles and road infrastructure. YoGoKo was created around this demonstrator, and its seven staff are today based in Rennes and at the Inria site in Rocquencourt. In 2012, our project was already awarded a prize at the i-LAB competition in the "Emergence" category. This boost enabled us to progress with the solution we are marketing today.

How does your solution work?

Thierry Ernst : Based on both new generation internet technology (IPv6) and on the standards relating to intelligent transport systems (ITS), it comprises a communication box equipped with multiple access technologies, a Linux operating system and a Cloud-based service and management platform. Embedded in vehicles or installed on motorway distance markers or variable message signs, the box is capable of communicating via Wi-Fi (standard and vehicular) as well as 3G, 4G, satellite, powerline, infrared and even VLC (visible light communication).The idea is to use the right access technology at the right time, depending on requirements and availability.

What does the future hold for your technology?

Thierry Ernst : There are many potential uses. Our platform could also be applied in the field of road safety, for example avoiding collisions at intersections, detecting a stationary vehicle... We also foresee applications in road traffic management, controlling fleets of autonomous vehicles and for tourist information. For the time being, with the market still being in its early stages, YoGoKo's products are essentially aimed at industrial and economic laboratories. In particular, we have signed a contract with the VEDECOM Institute (French institute for carbon-free communicating vehicles and their mobility) to provide the connectivity platform for the autonomous demonstration vehicles that will be present at the ITS World Congress in Bordeaux in October.

Keywords: Thierry Ernst YoGoKo Connected devices Technology transfer Smart cars I-Lab Innovation