On a wintery day in Columbus, OH, the conversation on transportation is heating up. In 2016, Columbus competed against 77 cities nationwide to win the Smart City Challenge. The goals of the program are to improve people’s quality of life, drive growth in the economy, provide better access to jobs and ladders of opportunity, become a world-class logistics leader, and foster sustainability.
This formed the backdrop for the conversation on Friday, February 12, 2021, as Congressman Troy Balderson, U.S. Representative from Ohio's 12th congressional district, visited the corporate headquarters of Asymmetric Technologies, a Columbus-based Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), to learn about the company and its capabilities.
Asymmetric founder and CEO Brian Borkowski led the discussion and briefed Mr. Balderson on Asymmetric Technologies and its spin-off companies, Terra Sound and Asymmetric Unmanned. Rob Hettler, Director of Applied Development for Asymmetric Technologies, briefed the congressman on the research and solution services his company provides to multiple branches of the U.S. government.
Craig Borkowski, CEO of Terra Sound Technology, highlighted Terra Sound as a software company that transforms fiber optic cable into a series of sensors that can provide critical data about the environment where it is located. That data can be utilized for a variety of different purposes, with physical security for critical infrastructure and borders, oil and gas pipeline safety, and highway monitoring being some of the first markets to be developed.
Matthew Peterson, head of Asymmetric Unmanned, highlighted the company’s ability to inspect critical assets whether they are on ground, above ground, or underwater. Asymmetric Unmanned has a long history with a spotless safety record inspecting bridges, pipelines, transmission lines, and confined/hazardous spaces in an efficient and economical manner. In addition to inspections, the company provides a full suite of image post-processing that can highlight the exact location and severity of any issues.
After the initial round table, Mr. Balderson went into a breakout session with Terra Sound on their Smart City initiatives. Craig Borkowski outlined a future of smart transportation where cities could harness actionable data to improve the efficiency and speed of deploying limited resources to areas that need it the most, while helping to improve the overall safety of the community.
In addition to the overall strategy, Craig also went through the capabilities of Terra Sound, showing a live demonstration of the system currently installed on the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor in collaboration with Drive Ohio. The demonstration showcased a range of instantaneous and live data, including traffic flow, average speeds, accident alerts, construction progress, and road degradation monitoring—all developed in a few months’ time. This data is the tip of the iceberg and was developed as an unfunded proof of concept showing how powerful this technology can be even when deployed on pre-existing fiber.
The whole Asymmetric family expressed appreciation for the visit from Congressman Balderson and for his time spent listening to small businesses. His push to grow the manufacturing base, increase jobs, invest in transportation, and support veterans lines up perfectly with Asymmetric’s goals as a company. The group dispersed on an excited note and plans to continue pushing local smart transportation initiatives.