Startup Miovision raises $30M in push to reduce commute times

How would you like to drive down a busy street and hit every green light along the way? Kitchener, Ont.-based Miovision has created a technology that could do just that.
A Kitchener company could help your commute time shrink. Miovision uses cell technology to link intersections in a network, and can adjust traffic lights in real time.

How would you like to drive down a busy street and hit every green light along the way? Or avoid awful congestion that paralyzes major roads on your daily commute? 

Miovision, a Kitchener, Ont. based company, has created a way to adjust an entire network of traffic lights in real time, according to real traffic conditions. The company just raised $30 million, much of which will be invested into new hardware that will connect intersections and allow for more fluid traffic flow.

"We basically are putting essentially an industrial cellphone into the little grey boxes that you see on the side of the road, and all we have to do is a drill a hole in the side of the little cabinet, put an antenna on it and then we're connected," said CEO Kurtis McBride in an interview with Craig Norris on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition Wednesday. 

McBride said the technology is easy and fast to install, and right now the company has several customers using a pilot version, including the Region of Waterloo's traffic department.
Kurtis McBride is the CEO of Miovision, a Kitchener, Ont.-based company that has created a way to monitor traffic conditions in real time, and adjust intersection control timing based on vehicle levels. (Andrea Bellemare/CBC)

"It turns this old aging infrastructure into a dot on a map that we can start to talk to in a more 21st century kind of way," said McBride"This allows both intersections to communicate with one another, as well as city traffic operations staff to easily communicate with the intersections, makes changes and get information about them." 

According to McBride, if an intersection's lights go out out during an ice storm for example, Miovision can help get that intersection's service restored faster. 

"Traditionally, we wait for a citizen to phone the region," explains McBride. "With our system we can immediately send a text message to an operator and have them go out and fix the intersection right away."

McBride said they can also see traffic patterns in real time and change signal times to move people faster, like adjusting light times after a hockey game lets out. 

Some intersections in the region are already connected but the technology that is being used is either out of date, or relies on ethernet cabling, which is expensive to install, McBride said.

Eventually, McBride said Miovision could help create networks for self-driving cars, in which cars rely on a central coordination system to move through an area, or collaborate on other similar types of projects. 


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