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RELEASE: SmartCone named $60,000 winner of 2017 NextChallenge: Smart Cities

By Posted on December 15, 2017

Media Contacts:

Melissa Smith

Bridgette Larose

Carly Getz
DTE Energy

E.J. Bernacki
Wells Fargo

SmartCone named $60,000 winner of
2017 NextChallenge: Smart Cities

DETROIT, Dec. 14, 2017NextEnergy, in partnership with DENSO International America, DTE Energy and Wells Fargo, has named SmartCone as the winner of the 2017 NextChallenge: Smart Cities technology challenge, a global competition challenging innovators to find hardware and software technology solutions to address unmet needs in urban areas. SmartCone will receive $60,000 in grant funding from Wells Fargo to demonstrate and validate their solution.

“The finalists came to Detroit from around the world to share their smart city technology solutions that tackle challenges with mobility and the built environment in urban areas,” said Jean Redfield, president and CEO, NextEnergy. “SmartCone provided an impressive solution addressing biker safety, specifically with communication to drivers, letting them know when they are sharing the roadway with nearby cyclists and when it’s safe to proceed. SmartCone’s combination of sensor technologies and connected data analytics to identify and even predict driver-cyclist crashes and near misses stood out to this year’s judges. We are looking forward to working with them in the New Year.”

SmartCone’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Safety Solution makes intersections safer through an innovative platform that uses a combination of heat detection cameras and invisible trip wires to detect non-motorized transport. The software triggers flashing lights on eye-level bollards to notify drivers when it’s safe to proceed and is capable of recording video, capturing license plates of dangerous drivers, and providing pedestrian and cyclist counts.

In addition, Switched Source LLC was named the Grant Award Winner and received $40,000 to fund their project. Derq earned the People’s Choice Award and $20,000.

Switched Source LLC is a next generation startup providing power flow control technology solutions for distribution companies. Their patented Distribution Tie Controller device helps increase the efficiency and reliability of the last mile of electricity delivery of the electric grid for urban and suburban users – giving electric distribution companies a new level of control for managing power flows.

Derq, an MIT spin-off with a mission to eliminate road accidents by using artificial intelligence, is showcasing the benefits of Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connected technologies on road safety and mobility in Detroit and beyond. Artificial Intelligence algorithms within their patented system can detect and predict dangerous or congested traffic scenarios and alert connected vehicles nearby through short-range communication.

More than 100 innovators submitted online concept proposals earlier this year which were reviewed and narrowed down to a group of semi-finalists based on the following objectives: validity of innovation, applicant qualifications, competitive advantage, and scalability. Fifty-nine semi-finalists from innovators around the world submitted full proposals which were narrowed down to a group of 10 finalists who pitched their ideas live to a panel of judges – representatives from NextEnergy, DTE Energy, DENSO, Wayne State University, and Invest Detroit – who collaboratively determined the winners.

The finalists included: Ambience Data, Derq, Eco BCG, EcoG, GreenLots, Nextek Power Systems, SmartCone, Switched Source LLC, Tome and Trafisense.

For more information about NextChallenge: Smart Cities, visit

About NextEnergy
Founded in 2002 as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, NextEnergy is an innovation center accelerating advanced energy, mobility and built environment technologies to enable smarter and more sustainable cities. Since its inception, NextEnergy has worked with more than 400 companies, universities, federal agencies, and philanthropic organizations to drive more than $1.5 billion in advanced energy and mobility technology investments. For more information about how we’re accelerating technologies that transform how we use energy to live and move, visit

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,400 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists. In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on three priorities: economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

About DTE Energy
DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.2 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.3 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility energy businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading. As one of Michigan’s leading corporate citizens, DTE Energy is a force for growth and prosperity in the 450 Michigan communities it serves in a variety of ways, including philanthropy, volunteerism and economic progress. Information about DTE Energy is available at, and

About DENSO in North America
DENSO is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. With its North American headquarters located in Southfield, Michigan, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 28 consolidated subsidiaries and 4 affiliates across the North American region. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. DENSO’s North American consolidated sales totaled US$9.6 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017. For more information, go to Connect with DENSO on Facebook at

DENSO Worldwide
DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan has more than 200 subsidiaries and affiliates in 38 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs more than 150,000 people worldwide. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, totaled US$40.4 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 8.8 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. Connect with us on Facebook:



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