Skolkovo’s grant committee has signed off on a 30 million ruble grant for space and telecommunications cluster resident startup HelgiLab, with the same sum being put up by its founders to take the environment-scanning company to the next level.

Screen shot from the company website. Photo:

HelgiLab, founded in 2012, provides three-dimensional visualization of surrounding spaces – a more advanced version of Google’s Street View service. In any given photo, a user can determine the size of buildings and objects, as well as distances, with the click of a button.

“For three years already, our company has been processing data from laser scanning of the environment,” said co-founder Oleg Ilychev. “Over that time, our machines have covered more than 20,000 kilometers, gathering dozens of terabits of information. We have united this data into 3D geo-tethered panoramas that are being used at the moment on official City Hall websites,” he added.

Screen shot from company website. Photo:

HelgiLab’s work for City Hall is to provide 3D, pedestrian-level panoramic photo imagery of the capital’s streets and avenues, roving around the city to update the data every six months.

The firm’s other founder, Sergei Gevorkov, insisted the solution would be of significant help to city planners.

“Imagine, on the megapolis scale, you need to take an inventory of all the road signs or lamp posts,” he said. “At the moment these tasks are carried out almost manually. Our technology does this automatically with reasonable timeframes and expenditure.”

The software will also come in handy when evaluating which type of structure would fit best into any given space for urban regeneration or developing new land, Gevorkov said.

Ilya Goldt, a project manager at Skolkovo’s space and telecoms cluster, claimed the technology had potential for export into foreign markets and the company would likely expand beyond Russia.

“HelgiLab is setting the foundations for the maps of the future – those upon which pilotless navigation is built, and without which, soon, the modern car will be unimaginable.”