This company’s machine learning programs are making driving in Houston safer

This entrepreneur says the future of driving is using smart tech on a subscription-based business model. Pexels

This article originally appeared on InnovationMap and was written by Alice Levitt.

Two thousand years ago, in ancient Rome, the primary mode of transportation was an intelligent one: the horse. The Latin word "currus" was the inspiration for Alex Colosivschi when it came to naming his business, Currux.

"We chose this name because we believe in a future where cars and actually most modes of transportation will be intelligent, like horses," he explains. "And so it's a great name considering our focus on the future of mobility and machine learning."

The change from "s" to "x" at the end of the word allowed Colosivschi to trademark the name.

The entrepreneur, whose career was focused on energy finance until starting the new company in 2017, came up with the idea for Currux while walking in his Rice Village neighborhood. He realized that despite the green surroundings, he was choked by the smell of engine exhaust.

"I started with thinking about the future of energy and how the industry will adapt to a world of electric, autonomous and shared mobility, and the need to reduce CO2 emissions," he says.

His goal is an ambitious one: With Currux, Colosivschi hopes to not only reduce the cost and carbon footprint of owning a car, but also the accident rates. How? Currux itself is a long-term automobile subscription service. Colosivschi says to think of it as a long-term rental or a more flexible version of a lease. The car is delivered through an app and there is no commitment at the end of the subscription. Regular maintenance is included and the company is on the way to providing insurance, too.

It's also possible to share a car or fleet of cars with friends, assuring that your vehicle is only touched by people you know. This will be even more true when autonomous driving technology allows the car to go from subscriber to subscriber without a human in between.

"With the advent of digital shopping, we believe subscriptions will become the primary way that people get a car," Colosivschi predicts.

This will save clients money, but the ultimate goal is much bigger. Colosivschi wants to reduce air pollution. This will happen naturally with having fewer, mostly electric, cars on the road thanks to vehicle sharing, but another technology will also aid in the fight.

Currux Vision, which closely followed Currux in development, is a smartphone-based driver assistance program. It will help lower fuel consumption and reduce accident rates by "proactively coaching the driver on best driving practices," says Colosivschi.

"Just by slowing down and driving in a less aggressive manner, we can significantly reduce fuel consumption and more importantly prevent accidents from happening."

If you've driven or ridden in a Tesla...

Continue reading on InnovationMap to find out about computer vision and accident warnings.

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Korey Lee got his first big league at-bat Friday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The future remains bright for many of the Astros' young talents getting their chance to shine on the big stage. On Friday, the Astros called up their number 2 prospect, Korey Lee, a catcher they drafted 32nd overall in 2019. The move came after Houston moved Jason Castro to the 10-day IL, leaving them with only Martin Maldonado at the position on the active roster.

Catcher of the future?

Lee, a 23-year-old from Escondido, California, has quickly advanced through Houston's farm system. He began his minor-league career in single-A in 2019, then after no season in 2020, he resumed play in 2021, where he quickly moved up to double-A, then ultimately received his promotion to triple-A Sugar Land where he spent the last nine games of the season. In 2022, he's been doing well for the Space Cowboys, most recently hitting .271 in June with a .822 OPS.

He brings to the table what the Astros have sorely needed from their catcher's spot: a decent bat. In his minor-league career thus far, Lee is a .258 hitter with 24 homers and 113 RBI in 801 at-bats. Maldonado and Castro are batting .145 and .115, respectively, a low mark that has unfortunately created a soft spot in an otherwise potent lineup. Should Lee get some decent time behind the plate during Castro's IL stint, and he can produce similar numbers at the major-league level, it will be interesting to see how the Astros navigate the rest of this year and beyond with Castro heading to free agency at the conclusion of 2022.

Javier continues to deal

Meanwhile, Houston has a young pitcher that has blossomed into a bona fide force on the mound recently. Cristian Javier has shown plenty of potential in the last three years, maintaining a respectable ERA whether he's been asked to start or come out of the bullpen. His most recent two starts in particular, though, have been magnificent.

Unless you're disconnected from some of sport's leading headlines, you probably heard that the Astros put together a combined no-hitter against the Yankees on June 25th. Javier was the cornerstone of the accomplishment, holding one of the league's most dangerous lineups without a hit over seven innings of work, before Houston's bullpen backed him up with two more.

He followed that up Friday night against the Angels with another gem, this time allowing just one hit, a first-inning solo homer by Shohei Ohtani, over seven more innings of work. Not only did that bring him to 14 total innings with just one hit, but he has also struck out 27 batters over those fourteen innings, nearly two per inning while issuing just one walk. His stuff has been nearly unhittable, putting an excellent problem in front of the Astros as other pitchers like Jake Odorizzi and, eventually, Lance McCullers Jr. get healthy, and they figure out how to build the best rotation.

More young guns putting in work

Speaking of returns from injury, the Astros were able to have Jake Meyers return to the active roster after suffering a shoulder injury in the 2021 playoffs. He's done well in his seven games so far, most recently going 2-for-4 Friday night with a solo homer and two-RBI single that helped lead the Astros to their 8-1 victory.

Another top prospect putting in rehab work right now is Forrest Whitley, who is somehow still only 24 despite feeling like Houston's most coveted prospect for nearly a decade. He's made three shortened starts so far in 2022 across the lower levels of the minors, giving up three runs in the first game but posting back-to-back games with no runs across five innings of total work. He's set to make his return to triple-A on Monday, making a start for Sugar Land to further test where he stands in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The trade deadline looms

As is the case every year, speculations run rampant regarding what teams are looking to do as the deadline to make trades nears. We are a month away from 2022's deadline of August 2nd, meaning things are starting to ratchet into gear. Teams, like the Astros, will likely be using the month of July to see where their young talent stands, not just for personal gain should they need to make call-ups or fill their roster in the second half of the season, but to have potential bait to lure in partners for deals to bring some veteran talent to a team that might need that extra push.

Houston should absolutely be engaged in talks to improve the team this season while their championship window remains open. But, how much value will they be willing to part with to get it? We should find out within the next month.

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