La start-up Altaroad on the road to success

La start-up Altaroad on the road to success - Ifsttar - Altaroad start-up_img

Cécile Villette, CEO and co-founder of the Altaroad start-up - with Bérengère Lebental (COSYS - LISIS)

“Repair roads where they need it when they need it”: this is one of Altaroad's credos. Using nano-sensor networks, this start-up aims to create connected roads to improve the sustainability and safety of infrastructure. Winner of a First Prize in the national i-Lab 2018 competition, it is now even closer to bringing its technologies to market.

“This award provides our technologies with a high degree of credibility and confirms the professionalism of the project. It also increases our profile with investors and reassures our potential customers about Altaroad's highly innovative approach". Cécile Villette does not conceal her satisfaction and she has good reasons not to. The CEO and co-founder - with Bérengère Lebental - of the start-up Altaroad is one of the winners of i-Lab, the national competition run by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to support the creation of companies using innovative technologies. This 20th edition attracted 383 entries, 14 of which were awarded First Prizes. These prizes reward outstanding projects that fall within one of the ten societal challenges identified in the “France Europe 2020” strategic agenda.

Beyond the recognition it brings, Altaroad's Grand Prix provides the company with a subsidy of several hundred thousand euros. "Today we have a product that works, but tomorrow we want to have one that is hyper-reliable, hyper-accurate and hyper-robust. The i-Lab subsidy will allow us to move up to this level," says the winner. It will also be sponsored by François Grosse, CEO of ForCity. For several months, this experienced entrepreneur will support Altaroad's team in its search for investors and capital raising activities prior to the industrialization phase.

ALTAROAD - I-Lab 2018 Jury Grand Prize

Altaroad's algorithms and nano-sensors are designed to achieve the following objectives: optimize road maintenance, improve vehicle and personal safety, and track traffic flows by detecting vehicle types, trajectories and weight. Based on research conducted at the Ecole Polytechnique/CNRS and IFSTTAR, these technologies are able to provide real-time information on the type and weight of the vehicles using a road as well as the pavement deformations they cause. "We will get  information from inside the road and know how rapidly it is deteriorating. Maintenance costs could be reduced by 30%", explains Cécile Villette.

Another advantage of Altaroad's system is the real-time monitoring of traffic conditions and driver behaviours. This means that it can help to detect hazardous situations (black ice, wrong-way driving, autonomous vehicles with poor lane discipline, etc.) and inform users in real time. In this way, Altaroad aims to provide construction and transport stakeholders with a decision-making support service through a data platform for the management of urban traffic, freight logistics and industrial flows on construction sites and in cities. "The population of cities is growing and consumption patterns are changing. Everyone wants instant delivery and this increases both the number of trucks and deliveries on urban roads" points out Cécile Villette. "Our sensor networks will allow real-time decisions to be made about the environmental impact of these flows in order to redistribute vehicles optimally".