2019 has been a banner year for Aira. Launched in 2014 when Suman Kanuganti was a Rady School MBA student, Aira (“Ai” is a nod to artificial intelligence and “ra” references remote access) connects blind and low-vision people to remote human agents via smartphone app or smart glasses, “enhancing everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence” for users, which Aira calls “explorers.”
This year, Aira was recognized on Forbes’ list of 50 Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies, honored in Fast Company’s World Changing Idea Awards (finalists included Amazon, IBM and Microsoft), and expanded its 25,000+ partnerships to include the some of the country’s busiest airports and transit systems.
“I always tell people that if it was not for Rady School of Management, Aira probably wouldn’t exist,” Kanuganti says. Kanuganti entered Rady having earned a bachelors in electrical and electronics engineering and a masters in mechatronics, robotics and automation engineering. He says he chose Rady because “I wanted to do a program focused on how to build a business,” and build he did.
In the video, Kanuganti shares how a friend who is blind inspired him to leverage wearable technology, and how the Rady School taught him the quantitative and qualitative skills needed to create a business that changes lives.