WaiOPENDOOR “Autonomous Future: Are we there yet?” [Women in AI]

On September 11, 2019, the Dutch chapter of Women in AI (www.womeninai.co), the first global community for women in Artificial Intelligence (AI) organized an event WaiOPENDOOR “Autonomous Future: Are we there yet?”. The event was powered by TomTom and CODAM College, two expert organizations focusing on creating non-stop innovation and making the world moving forward– freely, efficiently, and safely.

Eve Logunova, Women in AI Ambassador in the Netherlands, opened the event and presented the mission of Women in AI

Eve Logunova, Women in AI (WAI) Ambassador in the Netherlands, opened the event by presenting the global organization and its mission:

“With a primary focus on increasing female representation and participation in AI, Women in AI works as a community-driven platform where both women and men are invited to take part in our initiatives. WAI’s goal is to build together a non-biased future for everyone in the field of Artificial Intelligence, where women are supported and promoted by men.”

“The Dutch chapter of Women in AI was launched in October 2018. Now the organization, a global nonprofit do-tank, is active in more than 90 countries. By providing access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and hands-on support, we aim to empower female AI-visionaries, role models and practitioners while accelerating a gender-inclusive community of global pioneers in the field of Artificial Intelligence,” — said Eve Logunova.

After presenting Women in AI, Eve invited on stage Corinne Vigreux, Co-founder of TomTom and the Founder of CODAM, who made an inspirational keynote speech:

Corinne Vigreux, Co-founder of TomTom and the Founder of CODAM, spoke about having passion and about the need for advancing technical skills

“Since 2004, when my partners and I launched the first personal navigation device, the world has changed drastically due to automation. As an example, robots and autonomous cars are no longer a dream. Humanity figured it out how to develop technology to enable self-driving vehicles and efficiently automate processes no matter the industry.

The wave of change that has been happening over the last decade is shaping our future at a fast pace, and anyone who wants to succeed needs to acknowledge this change, and acquire the relevant skills. The younger generation has an advantage as they can learn these skills even before choosing their career path. What are the skills? Having knowledge of programming and engineering solutions. Being able to analyze data and make data-based decisions. Thinking laterally and communicating clearly. Working with others to stay up to date with the latest developments. Having passion,” — said Corinne Vigreux in her opening speech.

“I truly believe in the power of a community. Women in AI is a powerful platform for empowering women and creating a gender-inclusive, non-biased world. Codam College is also a community where students learn from each other and work together to solve challenges (peer-to-peer learning model). Together with your peers and the internet, there is nothing you cannot solve.”

Corinne Vigreux’s keynote speech was followed by the deep-dive presentations on the topic of an autonomous future from Sindi Shkodrani, Software Engineer at TomTom Autonomous Driving R&D, and Anouk Visser, Co-founder & CTO at Birds.ai.

Sindi Shkodrani, Software Engineer at TomTom Autonomous Driving R&D presented TomTom’s HD maps for self-driving cars

“In the safe autonomous world that we are building, the key asset for navigation would be AI-enabled high-accuracy HD Maps. Today’s navigation systems use traditional GPS for localization. However, GPS is only accurate down to a few meters, meaning that a vehicle relying only on GPS data would not always be able to determine what lane it is currently driving in. Also, autonomous vehicles will be equipped with camera sensors that have no capability of foreseeing the road beyond a certain reach of view. This gets even more difficult in challenging weather conditions. In lack of human drivers, the map can assist the self-driving car to make long-term path planning decisions and foresee possible risks that may happen on the road. That’s why TomTom has invested in HD Maps for ADAS and Autonomous Driving.

By enriching our HD Map with attributes such as lane markings, traffic signs, road borders, traffic lights, etc. we can help vehicles understand what their sensors see, and extend their capabilities. And as the result of this path-aware, obstacles-aware, and environment-aware functionality, we will be able to ensure much safer navigation of public roads,” — highlighted Sindi Shkodrani in her presentation on the role of HD Maps for the autonomous driving.

Anouk Visser, Co-founder and CTO at Birds.ai, spoke about drones as an integral part of the autonomous future

“You can’t even imagine the beauty of the world from above if you don’t have wings. That’s where Birds.ai step in — enabling businesses with a bird’s-eye view on the operational perspective of their assets. We use drones for collecting images and automating visual inspections of solar farms, wind turbines, cell towers, power lines, and other equities. As an outcome, we provide inspectors and the decision-makers with the reports about the current state of their assets and the analysis of potential risks that may require attention or maintenance. The facts speak for themselves. In the year 2018 our AI-enabled drones found 3,963 technical problems and reported 593 actual defects in the core assets of our customers. As such, our deep learning technology helped them to increase utilization and fault-tolerance, minimize downtime and outage, and take immediate actions to ensure safety, reliability and continuous performance of their assets,” — said Anouk Visser.

Muriël Serrurier Schepper presented her new book — “Artificial Intelligence In Actie”

At the end of the program, the guests got a chance to hear Muriël Serrurier Schepper’s presentation of the new book that she wrote together with Taco Hiddink — “Artificial Intelligence In Actie”. If you’d like to read the preview or buy a copy of the book [in Dutch], please visit https://www.ai-training.nl/ai-in-actie.

The event finished with networking, laughter and establishing connections for the future.

The attendees of WaiOPENDOOR “Autonomous Future: Are we there yet?” showed W for Women in AI


Corinne Vigreux is a Co-founder of TomTom, the leading independent location technology specialist, shaping mobility with highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services. Voted one of the top 50 most inspirational women in European tech, Corinne champions women in the workforce and is passionate about entrepreneurship, equal opportunities, education, and technology. In 2018, she launched CODAM, a tuition-free, non-profit coding college in Amsterdam, because she believes coding is the engine for innovation that is driving the world forward faster than ever before. CODAM’s learning system is based on the famous Ecole 42 curriculum and ethos, and its mission is to help a new generation shape the future. Corinne was made Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2012 and Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau in 2016.

Sindi Shkodrani is a Software Engineer at TomTom. Working with the Autonomous Driving R&D team on cutting edge Machine Learning and Computer Vision techniques, she helps building AI-powered HD maps which are crucial to the future of self-driving cars. She got her Master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence at the University of Amsterdam, where her thesis research was done in collaboration with TomTom Autonomous Driving R&D. The resulting publication got the best paper award at the Domain Adaptation workshop at the European Conference in Computer Vision 2018. Sindi enjoys staying active in the tech community by giving talks for local meetups, organizing events and workshops as well as mentoring young high school girls who want to get into tech degrees as part of the Google Women Techmakers Alumni.

Anouk Visser is a co-founder and CTO of Birds.ai. Birds.ai provides its customers with a bird’s-eye view of the condition of their solar and wind farms. The AI-powered Birds.ai View platform identifies and locates possible problems in high detail at an early stage, providing critical intelligence to guarantee the full performance of the asset. By combining drones and computer vision algorithms Anouk and her team provided the rangers with a bird’s-eye view of their game reserve. Anouk is also an active ambassador of women in technology, teaching workshops and coaching attendants at several Rails Girls events, as well as coaching girls of 10 years old in the field of computer science and organizing past Girl Geek Dinner events.

About Women in AI

Women in AI (WAI // www.womeninai.co) is a nonprofit do-tank working towards gender-inclusive AI that benefits global society. The global organization was founded in 2017 in Paris, France while its Dutch chapter was launched a year later, in 2018. Our mission is to increase female representation and participation in AI. We are a community-driven initiative bringing empowerment, knowledge and active collaboration via education, research, events, and blogging. Our network is 2500+ members from 90+ countries and it is continuously growing.

AI development throughout the years has been mostly led by men. Now, with AI advancing at a high pace and with the applications of AI raising ethical questions, there is a strong need to have both women and men participating alongside each other in building a sustainable, inclusive future. With Women in AI expanding rapidly across the globe, this could become the answer to the global community’s ethical quest for increasing AI fairness.

Eve Logunova — Women in AI Ambassador (Netherlands) // Growth & Innovations Marketing Manager

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