Hackathon participants create ‘world-first’ software for Carsales

A hackathon run by carsales.com last November has resulted in what the global online business claims is a ‘world-first’ piece of image recognition software.

The event was a three-day forum where carsales’ tech teams worked alongside employees from other departments in small teams to think laterally and generate technical, creative and innovative ideas.

The ‘Cyclops Image Recognition Software’ – which the company claims has a 97.2 per cent accuracy rate – automatically selects and assigns angles to each image uploaded by photographers directly onto the carsales platform. This helps showcase various aspects of the vehicles on sale.

It also includes an AI feedback mechanism so it automatically learns from mistakes it makes to improve its performance over time.

During the hackathon, teams created a working prototype and demonstrated it to an internal marketplace of employees, senior exec judges and people external to the organisation. Participants then voted for a number of awards.

Carsales said more than half of the ideas generated by the program since 2013 have been implemented.

Agustinus Nalwan, who invented the idea and lead the winning team during the hackathon said that prior to the implementation of the software, every image of a car uploaded into the media library was manually categorised according to the angle featured in the image. With Cyclops, each image is automatically assigned an angle, he said.

Over the next two months, the AI team will further integrate the technology for photos uploaded by users and will notify users to upload additional images if necessary. They will also create an image comparison tool that lets users visually compare the backseat photos of multiple vehicles.

“For example, a user who is selling an SUV and has uploaded images of the front exterior, side exterior front seats and dashboard will be prompted to upload an image of the backseat too,” said Nalwan.

“This is because Cyclops knows this is one of the most common features people research when purchasing an SUV.”

Carsales said it will soon deploy the technology across its international businesses.

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