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Pensees Singapore Institute to tap Asian AI-based R&D market


Editor’s Note: Singapore is taking strides to cement its place as the “No. 1 Smart City” in the world by working closely with global companies that deal with some of the most advanced technologies. This latest one is the announcement of an R&D facility backed by Pensees, a fast-growing AI technology startup based in China. Moreover, the establishment of the institute in Singapore will serve as a gateway for the company to gain greater exposure in the Southeast Asian region, where it still remains largely unknown.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as how the company was only founded in 2018. But the company has seen quite a significant growth, backed by a founder with deep industry experience and core members of its software team coming from Fujitsu’s industrial-level R&D team. Since its inception, Pensees has seen two funding rounds in late 2018 and earlier this year amounting to around US$25.2 million.

In a relatively short amount of time, the company’s various industry solutions are now being used in over 50 cities in China, serving more than 100 clients. As the company specialises in computer vision and IoT technologies, reports have stated that they are currently developing a new artificial intelligence-based camera system in Singapore.

The full press release follows:

Beijing-based Pensees Technology Co Ltd (Pensees), known for its integrated AI-based solutions in computer vision and IoT technologies, formally unveiled the Pensees Singapore Institute, an R&D facility which will oversee the company’s applied industrial research and delivery capabilities in Singapore and the region.

The Institute was officially launched by Mr Ma Yuan, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pensees, and Ms Wang Rong Fang, the counsellor for Science and Technology at the Chinese Embassy in Singapore, who also had the opportunity to tour the facility.

Pensees Singapore Institute, which marks Pensees’ first foray into the international market, is part of the company’s sustained growth strategy and continuous efforts to strengthen research in the fields of AI and deep learning. The facility is headed by Ms Jane Shen, Group Chief Scientist and Managing Director, and will house up to 70 staff, comprising AI algorithm researchers, system researchers, hardware experts, and engineers.

Mr Ma, said, “Singapore is not only a country that is deeply committed to R&D; it is a thriving digital ecosystem, underpinned by its infrastructure, policy and enablers, making it a hotbed for AI experimentation and innovation. Over the years, we’ve seen how through a coordinated effort by Singapore’s businesses, government agencies and citizens, it has quickly gained global recognition as the No. 1 Smart City. Singapore plays an important role in the next wave of AI innovation, and we are thrilled at the idea of establishing our footing here as we seek opportunities to enhance our offerings and work with AI talent from both academia and industry.”

Since its inception in 2017, Pensees has successfully developed and deployed a full range of AI products and solutions in domains such as Enterprise Security, Public Security, Smart Community and Smart Factory. Its technology has also found its roots in more than 50 cities, autonomous regions and municipalities across China, serving over 1,000 clients.

Tapping the Power of Collaboration

Since expanding its footprint in Singapore, Pensees started collaboration with universities and polytechnics here. Pensees Singapore Institute has reached a Research Collaboration Agreement (RCA) with NUS for the joint development of the AI-based Camera System. This collaboration has been selected as one of the AI 100E projects under the AI Innovation Programme managed by AI Singapore, an organisation under the National Research Foundation to promote AI innovation. Pensees and AI Singapore will fund this project on a one-to-one basis, and the project will be conducted by the research team led by Professor Feng Jiashi at NUS and Pensees Singapore Institute.

Pensees also reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), where both parties agreed to collaborate in the area of autonomous system technologies, autonomous robots as well as AI application development and testing. Aside from having a strong team that focuses on autonomous system technologies and autonomous robots, NYP’s School of Engineering also has outstanding R&D facilities and laboratories, while Pensees Singapore Institute’s deep capabilities in computer vision and AI algorithms can be applied in autonomous systems for perception. By leveraging each other’s strengths, this collaboration seeks to accelerate the development, testing and deployment of autonomous systems.

Pensees formally signed the agreements with the NUS and NYP, witnessed by Ms Wang Rong Fang and distinguished guests from government agencies, universities, and the industry. It also announced the formation of the Pensees Technical Advisory Board, which will support Pensees’ technological advancement and research while ensuring that Pensees stays at the forefront of technological leadership.