After doing his Master’s degree and working in the private sector in Argentina, German Castignani decided to do a research internship in France, which piqued his interest for research. After completing his PhD in wireless networking in France, the Italian-Argentinian national came to Luxembourg, where he added an entrepreneurial perspective to his vehicular telematics research, co-founding the SnT’s first spin-off Motion-S.
“Something that really cleared my choice to become a researcher has been the strong focus we can put on a single subject, putting all our energy and mind-set to achieve a scientific goal. This is something that as an engineer is difficult to achieve,” German Castignani says, referring to what helped him chose research over being an engineer.
German is a research fellow at the University of Luxembourg’s SnT, as well as Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Motion-S, an FNR-supported SnT spin-off company that specialises a device-agnostic telematics platform, which contextualises mobility data and proposes profiling and scoring techniques by using multiple telematics parameters and risk factors for insurance, fleet management, car-sharing and mobile marketing platforms.
Using driving data to create risk profiles
Working in the field of vehicular telematics, German’s research specifically focuses on “how to make use of driving data, including GPS and sensors, in order to provide driver risk profiles based on road safety statistics and contributory factors for road accidents”, as he explains.
“Together with my team, we have been working on a methodology for data augmentation and analysis using unsupervised machine learning”, German explains, adding that this methodology makes it possible to cluster drivers into well-defined risk categories, as well as provide a risk score based on how exposed the driver is to road fatalities.
“A fantastic adventure”
Citing working with his team and balancing between a focus on scientific goals and Unique Selling Propositions (USP) for the start-up as some of his favourite duties, German highly recommends for researchers to launch a start-up, referring for example to the satisfaction of seeing your research become reality:
“This is a fantastic adventure I can recommend to any researcher that is eager to see his ideas being deployed and spread in real-life.”
“Also as a researcher, we need to work hard to find the balance between the economic aspects related to the commercialization of a research-based product, and the continuity of the research activity, to make such a product continuously evolve in the right direction. This is for sure an activity I’ll pursue in the future. In the end, it is through research ideas and projects that society advances.”
Moving to Luxembourg from France, and after having been in the Grand Duchy for a handful of years, German has a high opinion of the small country’s research potential:
“Luxembourg is a well-established place to perform both applied and fundamental research. The diversity of the origin of the researchers, the variety of research topics and the very complete funding scheme that cover all the subjects and degrees of careers, make Luxembourg one of the best places to carry on research projects.”
Published 3 April 2018