Tara

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Tara Akhavan, a perception story

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Tara Akhavan, Ph.D. is a visionary award-winner technology entrepreneur and pioneer in the field of Perceptual Display Processing for the automotive industry. She is the President and CEO of Faurecia IRYStec Inc.
Recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 by EoY Canada as well as the founder of top 20 Innovative start-ups in Canada in 2018 by CIX, Tara is nominated for the Informa Tech Automative Awards' Automotive Inspiration of the Year 2021!
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What’s your background and how did you come to the automotive world ?

I have a BSc in Computer Software Engineering, MSc in AI and PhD in Computer Vision & Image Processing.  I have immigrated twice (originally Iranian, studied in Vienna and currently living in Montreal), married someone from abroad, lived and worked in 3 different countries & continents and I am a mother to an adorable toddler. When I was a 2nd year PhD student pitching an idea at a conference, I met my first investor who helped me start IRYStec in Montreal back in 2014. I founded IRYStec to build "perceptual" products for displays and we happened to get most traction from Automotive industry!

What was your inspiration for founding IRYStec ?

Displays are everywhere and we spend more than 8 hours per day in front of them. There are side effects to too much screen time that are not considered in the process of building screens/displays. Engineers build cameras & displays while physiologists are doing research for decades on "how our eyes work" as well as side effects of screen time. My goal was (and still is) to build solutions to make displays more eye friendly, healthy, and visible. We built our first product called Smart Dimming aiming at solving "sunlight visibility" issue that got a lot of traction from automotive OEMs and led into our collaboration with Daimler back in 2016. 

What does mean Inspiration for you in three words ? 

Brainstorming, Prototyping, Perseverance! inspiration is not a momentary thing to me but quite the opposite it requires grit to dig into the depth ... 

What do you like best about technology innovation?

It will always remain challenging because it is hard to catch up with advancements that happen on daily basis. We are living in the fastest pace era for technology in human history and nothing is impossible. 

You’re a woman leading a company in a dynamic & multicultural environment. What does diversity bring to innovation and the automotive world?

Diversity is key for any business ... I have been always in the minority group (Immigrant, younger than usual and most times the only woman) and soon I realized the difficulty of trying to fit in while maintaining authenticity. Creating a safe environment for opposing views to grow & challenge the status quo is the optimal path to innovation. Innovation means breaking status quo!

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IRYStec
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Faurecia, one of the world’s leading automotive technology companies, today announced the acquisition of the Canadian start-up IRYStec Software. IRYStec has developed the world’s first software platform using perception and physiology to optimize the user experience of display systems.

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irystec
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Faurecia IRYStec, the Canadian startup bought by Faurecia last April, revealed its world’s first software platform using perception and physiology to optimize the user experience of display systems inside the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet.

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Faurecia IRYStec Automotive News PACE award winner
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Faurecia, one of the world’s leading automotive technology companies, has earned a 2021 Automotive News PACE Award for its IRYStec Perceptual Display Platform Vision (PDP Vision) solution.

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