Digital Drug Tests Targeting Billion-Dollar Market
17.07.2023 - Sightic Analytics has developed an AI software that can determine in real-time if you are influenced by alcohol or drugs.
Determining in real time whether a person is influenced by alcohol or drugs without troublesome and time-consuming sampling could save lives. Sightic Analytics has developed AI-based software that can determine, through image analysis of the eye area, whether you are affected with up to 95 per cent accuracy.
"There is a great need for quick, simple, and secure solutions for alcohol and drug testing," says Stefanie Najafi, who, together with Jenny Johansson, founded Sightic Analytics in 2019. Since 2021, they have been full-time entrepreneurs.
Stefanie has a background as a police officer, Jenny is a trained psychologist. Both were working in the security police when the idea to create better solutions for alcohol and drug tests was born in 2018:
"We saw in our everyday life that even for an experienced police officer, it can be difficult to determine whether a person is affected or not and that it is often a cumbersome process to get a secure answer when it comes to drugs," says Jenny Johansson. Therefore, we began to consider whether it would be possible to develop a digital test with high reliability.
Five years later, most things are going Sightic's way after extensive market analyses, research, and software development. Three investors have entered the company, the European Innovation Council has granted an EU subsidy of 27 million kronor (with the possibility of as much again). Norwegian electric scooter company Ryde is the first to incorporate the software into its app.
"Alcohol influence is the most common reason for scooter drivers injuring themselves. More and more municipalities are therefore choosing to limit the opportunity to rent e-scooters on weekends and nights. By logging into the app, those who are sober can quickly get the go-ahead to rent, while those who are affected are stopped or recommended other means of transport.
The decision to leave a government job to become entrepreneur is something Stefanie Najafi or Jenny Johansson haven't regretted for a second.
"We have been busy getting everything in place and have faced many challenges along the way, but have received invaluable help from Sahlgrenska Science Park and RISE in terms of research and development, and from the industrial innovation hub Mobility XLab, which includes Volvo Group and Volvo Cars, as well as Ericsson. Without that support and backing, we would not have gotten so far in such a short time.
The competition in image analysis with AI is large, but so far, no other player has developed a ready algorithm specifically for drug and alcohol tests.
"We have identified a niche with a global billion-dollar market and want to be a leading player there. We have had a great advantage of being in Gothenburg where everything is close at hand and where there is a pronounced culture of collaboration," say Sightic's co-founders Stefanie Najafi and Jenny Johansson.
Text: Sven-E Lindberg
Photo: Samuel Unéus
Article previously published in Magasin Göteborg