Innovation & Entrepreneurs: Oklahoma startup provides “black-box” data for wrecks involving heavy trucks
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
It feels almost like serendipity when a startup solves a problem that is so large and well understood that it takes just a couple of simple sentences to describe, even to a stranger, what that startup does.
For Tulsa-based Synercon Technologies, that simple sentence is: “We make it easy to recover heavy vehicle crash data.” Synercon provides a hardware/software solution that allows traffic crash investigators to quickly acquire digital forensic “black-box” data from a heavy vehicle crash.
Law enforcement officers need this information to determine fault, for example speeding or reckless driving, especially in multivehicle events or if there has been a fatality. Insurance companies use the data to help understand risk, liability and exposure. Often the data exonerates drivers and trucking operations.
“Our business is all about providing the best available data possible for an investigation,” said Synercon founder and CEO Jeremy Daily.
For Daily, reconstructing traffic crashes is all in the family. He’s the son of a mechanical engineer and Wyoming deputy sheriff who has used his engineering know-how and law enforcement expertise to analyze crashes since the seventies. Daily and his dad even wrote a textbook on the subject.
So it’s not surprising that Daily initiated and lead the effort at TU, in response to requests from numerous crash investigators and law enforcement agencies, to develop a new technology to extract heavy vehicle crash data. He formed a talented team of students and professors from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science.
“We were presenting our research results at conferences,” Daily said, “and people came up to me and said, I want one of those truck-in-a-boxes you built.” The opportunity wasn’t a fit for the research mission at TU; however, Daily and his team could license the patent pending technology from TU, opening the field to Synercon to become the first to market with a digital crash reconstruction solution for heavy trucks.
In less than three years, Daily founded Synercon, completed i2E’s Immersion program, and has signed up multiple state highway patrols and police departments, as well as private investigators.
“We don’t have every state as a customer,” he said, “but we are working on it.”
Daily has accolades for the University of Tulsa for enabling Synercon to pursue this business.
“They moved with the flow of commercialization rather than to obstruct it,” he said. “The other important thing is that this is a multidisciplinary endeavor. That’s part of the culture at this university.”
Oklahoma’s universities and research institutions are invaluable contributors to the stream of innovation that feeds the pipeline of startups in this state. There may be some serendipity in that, but there’s also a whole lot of common sense.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Email Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.