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To cap our AI-focused Transform 2019 event, taking place July 10-11 in San Francisco, VentureBeat will recognize and award emergent, compelling, and influential work in AI through the inaugural AI Innovation Awards. We take pride in shining a light on innovation, and these awards, presented by Ople, give us a chance to do so in a new way. This series highlights the nominees in each of our five award categories: NLP/NLU, Business Application, Computer Vision, AI for Good, and Startup Spotlight.

While giant corporations can leverage their considerable resources to develop AI technology, the field is also filled with startups. But with the technology evolving quickly, AI newcomers need a killer idea and superb execution to thrive.

This award honors AI-driven companies that have raised $30 million or less in funding and have been in operation for no more than two years, spotlighting their potential to make a contribution to the field.

Xnor has largely flown under the radar but offers compelling edge solutions that deserve attention. With its “AI everywhere, on every device” mantra, the company wants to demonstrate that you can get deep learning performance on the edge with extremely low-power and inexpensive devices. Xnor’s AI2Go platform is designed to offer optimized, prebuilt models for on-device AI or enable developers to easily create their own.


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Diligent Robotics

In an effort to reduce toil, Diligent Robotics is trialing a robot that helps nurses perform menial tasks. The pilot program in a Texas hospital has met with initial success — all the more impressive given that Diligent Robotics comes out of UT Austin’s robotics lab and has under $3 million in funding.

AI is a field full of big, complex problems, but Ambidextrous Labs is focused on one that sounds simple enough: grasping. One of the biggest challenges in creating robots to help people perform warehouse and other tasks is the fact that robots often struggle to pick up objects. Ambidextrous’ solution, Dex-Net, comes out of UC Berkeley and taps a Deep Neural Network to teach robots how to pick things up more like a human would. The company is changing ecommerce in the process.

Construction site logistics are complex, so uses machine learning to track all the moving parts. The young company promises transparency and visibility to assist contractors in making data-driven decisions, and it automates safety compliance and other requirements, helping bring projects in under budget. Some 24 million square feet of work zones already use this company’s technology.

The Transform AI Innovation award ceremony will be held on the evening of July 11 to wrap up Transform 2019.

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