Frantz Saintellemy Of LeddarTech: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

Being judicious with our decisions and use of capital: In an industry increasingly dominated by AI, this requires significant infrastructure and R&D capital investments. Therefore, intelligent decisions around capital like when to spend, when to raise and more important when and what to not spend decisions becomes essential.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Frantz Saintellemy.

Frantz Saintellemy, C.M., is the President and CEO at LeddarTech, the global software company that develops and provides comprehensive AI-based low-level sensor fusion and perception software solutions that enable the deployment of ADAS, autonomous driving (AD) and parking applications. Frantz has 25 years of experience in the electronics and automotive sector, with specialized knowledge in automotive, autonomous driving, AI, IoT and automation applications, in addition to business and product development, applications engineering, global sales and marketing. A dedicated entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is also co-founder of Groupe 3737, an incubator and innovation center that supports more than 3000 entrepreneurs and founders, in addition to offering a framework for ideation to revenue generation leveraging innovation and technologies.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I am an engineer by trade. I began my career in the semiconductor industry — I was a chip designer for a company called Analog Devices just over 26 years ago. I fell into automotive by accident. My company at the time, Analog Devices, was looking at leveraging our core technologies into adjacent markets. We were big in the telecom, industrial and consumer spaces, and automotive was an adjacent market that we looked into. That’s how I started in the industry and progressively evolved into more leadership positions. At Analog Devices, I was a general manager, and I moved on to expand my career to work in Canada and Europe. My last company, ZMDI, which developed automotive sensing and software technologies, was acquired by Integrated Device Technology (IDT) in 2015. I joined LeddarTech in 2017 with the promise of creating an automotive success story. I’m glad we’re on this journey today, where we have outstanding core software and AI technologies that we believe will be the corner stone of driver assistance, safety and convenience for the automotive industry for many years. I joined with the plan to succeed the former CEO, Charles Boulanger, as President of the company, and once we became a public entity, this transition formally materialized and also became CEO.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

I believe our company stands out because we have the incredible ability to adapt to market needs and changing dynamics. Coming from a signal acquisition and signal processing history applied to lidar, we have been successful at transitioning from that to a pure-play software and AI-centric business, by combining our expertise in signal acquisition and processing and the fusion of different types of signals into an environmental model and perception stack that evolved into an AI-based software platform that can scale from level 1 all the way to level 5 autonomy. What makes us unique is the fact that we have incredible people who are charged and passionate about the story of solving one of the world’s most complex problem — which is transitioning from human-centric driving that causes a lot of accidents and casualties to a more automated driving, with augmenting human capacity by leveraging deep technologies.

You are a successful business leader. Which three-character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

  • I am super competitive. I am okay with losing as long as it gives me a path to winning. I’m a former competitive soccer player, and have learned that your environment has a major impact on your ability to be successful (i.e., surrounding yourself with the best players, coaches, trainers, etc.) In the context of LeddarTech, that means hiring the best people, who are aligned with our context, vision, and strategy, and encouraging them to surround themselves with the right team mates and to provide them the necessary tools and infrastructure to be successful in this globally competitive automotive tech market.
  • Curiosity and lifelong learning. My curiosity drives me to explore emerging technologies by staying up to date with industry trends. This has enabled LeddarTech to be very adaptable and stay 3–5 years ahead of our closest competitor.
  • Entrepreneurial spirit. My entrepreneurial mindset, intelligent risk-taking, and ability to identify market needs and to define and develop solutions addressing those needs have played a crucial role in my success.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

AI and machine learning have made significant strides in the consumer and telecom market segments but have not yet been fully deployed at scale in vehicles. AI-based software will enable new capabilities and functionalities for the next generation of vehicles and their users. LeddarTech’s AI-based fusion and perception software has re-defined performance, cost and safety by merging raw data from at least two sensors, i.e., the camera and radar, by processing outputs from the different sensors, which are first fused to recreate a dense and high-definition 3D environmental RGBD model, than we apply our unique AI engine to deliver the most precise and accurate perception of the environment of the vehicle. Decisions are made based on a single software model built from all the available information in the scene. Fusing raw data from multiple frames and multiple measurements of a single object improves the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and enables the system to overcome single sensor faults, thus improving the native performance of each individual sensor, which allows the use of lower-cost sensors while significantly reducing the processor performance required enabling lowest processor costs. This solution provides better detections and fewer false alarms, especially for small obstacles and unclassified objects at longer distances. Through the use of Generative AI, vehicles surpass traditional AI systems by assisting drivers and creating predictive models that enhance safety features while delivering more user convenience features such as highway, traffic or parking pilots. Our AI-based software model keeps learning as you drive, continually improving its accuracy and robustness. This allows the vehicle to better perceive and understand the environment and to react accordingly to different situations and scenarios.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

Ultimately, generative AI will have the most profound impact on the automotive industry. Today’s systems are largely based on computer vision. This approach has enabled the industry to evolve and develop safety warning and assistance systems such adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, etc. These applications have helped reduce road accidents but are not error prone and are very susceptible to atmospheric and weather changes. As a result, vehicle manufacturers and their tiered suppliers have developed new systems integrating radars as a second sensor modality in order to deliver more robust performance since radars are less susceptible to atmospheric and weather changes. As regulators across the globe make basic collision avoidance such as emergency breaking and steering mandatory for all classes of vehicles, vehicle manufacturers are increasingly equipping their vehicles with more cameras and more radars. This requires a new approach. At the core of LeddarTech’s innovation is AI-based fusion and perception software. This technology optimally fuses raw data from multiple sensors, such as cameras and radars, to create a comprehensive 3D environmental model. This breakthrough AI-based sensor fusion and perception not only improves decision-making but also enhances the signal-to-noise ratio, allowing the system to compensate for any single sensor fault. As a result, we can utilize lower-cost sensors without sacrificing quality while improve the performance of the overall system due to the innovative AI software model we have invented. This we believe will have the most significant impact in the automotive industry.

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

The first DARPA Challenge showed that with limited processor performance and resources, we could get a car to drive independently, plan its route, make decisions, and avoid obstacles. This was a visible example of the power of multi-sensor fusion and perception software and AI and what it could do to improve safety and driving and ultimately save lives.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future.

We are fortunate because we are blessed with incredible talent — machine learning scientists, deep learning experts, computer vision — we have many AI scientists. Preparing them is relatively easy — but providing a compelling roadmap inspires them to continually seek out innovative solutions to solve the most complex problems. LeddarTech is one of very few companies that have been able to develop AI, integrated into an embedded SoC for automotive which is an amazing motivator. In our search for the best talents, we deliberately consider where we hire people and how they will integrate our company culture. For instance, Greater Montreal area is one of the hotbeds of AI in the world. The Greater Toronto area is also well-recognized for its AI capabilities, and automotive expertise, so those are areas where we’re investing. Tel Aviv is known for AI, computer vision, telecommunications, and has a history of innovation in autonomous driving technology as well. And we’re complementing our teams with experts across the globe where our customers are located. We are prepared for a greater advent of AI because we’re one of the early players that have developed and integrated this technology to advance ADAS and autonomous driving.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

Given that we are now entering an era where AI becomes ubiquitous, these specialized talents become even more important and sought after. As such, financial capacity is needed, as these super-talented professionals are in high demand. We’re blessed to have quite a few of them, but to retain and motivate them and create an environment that inspires and enables them to properly deploy their talent requires significant capital. When you have a lot of intelligent workers, keeping the team focused and on track is another challenge. Lastly, working in a fast-changing global environment can be difficult. Global collaboration and keeping everyone focused and on track in different geographies can be challenging.

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

AI introduces ethical considerations around decision-making in critical situations. Humans are unpredictable and, even with noble intentions, can react in different ways, we don’t always choose the ethical path. However, AI is programmed to make the safest decision, regardless of sentiment. From our perspective, question or concern is to ensure that the AI is trained to react in the most ethical and safest manner possible when making decisions to avoid an accident.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

  1. Have enough experts to stay ahead of the market. At LeddarTech, we believe we’re 3–5 years ahead of our closest competitor, and we need to maintain that which requires expertise. We have built a world-class team of experts with diverse backgrounds and a unique set of experiences and expertise.
  2. Clearly understanding the direction that customers are going in as well as anticipating their future needs It’s not just about innovation for the sake of innovation; it’s about aligning with our customers’ needs and values and being ready when they least expect us to be!
  3. Fostering value-based partnerships. We recognize that we can’t do it all on our own. We’re not vertically integrated, and that’s not our strategy. We’ve established strategic partnerships with companies that have the same vision as us, that have the capacity to sustain and support us in our execution and delivery of our customers’ needs for the long term.
  4. Being judicious with our decisions and use of capital: In an industry increasingly dominated by AI, this requires significant infrastructure and R&D capital investments. Therefore, intelligent decisions around capital like when to spend, when to raise and more important when and what to not spend decisions becomes essential.
  5. Room for growth: We must nurture our talent and provide the right circumstances and environment to keep them fulfilled and inspired to come to work each day. We source and recruit individuals that have a lot of upside room for growth.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

The most common misconception is that you need to be large-scale and have a lot of scientists and vast amounts of data. While historically that may have been the case, but with innovative tools like generative AI and large language models (LLMs), we’re finding that we can leverage AI to create synthetic data. As infrastructures like AWS or Microsoft become more sophisticated and capable of handling large AI models, we can leverage cloud-based computing to develop and validate applications and use cases instead of instead of building edge level devices or solutions. This reduces development costs, risks and infrastructure costs, and makes it easier for companies like us and our partners to get things done on the cloud like simulation and validation before our customer has to actually integrate it into their car. This approach allows customers to be much faster, nimbler and significantly reduces the cost associated with collecting millions of miles of data using test vehicles.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

One of my favorite quotes, comes from Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Many people confuse tactics with strategy, but I have learned from this quote that you must first align on where you’re going and when. How you’re going to get there is secondary. At LeddarTech, we spend a lot of time working on our strategy, vision, mission, key success factors, and the type of culture that will benefit from that. Our people are smart enough to figure how to get us there!

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily decision-making process?

I’m all about team culture and the people that make up this company. I believe we will only be successful because our team members are successful. This belief stems from my background in competitive team sports. A cohesive team with a clear strategy and a healthy mindset can achieve great success. I want to ensure our team members are fully aware of what’s expected of them, feel a sense of belonging, and are motivated to come to work each and every day. That’s at the forefront of everything we’re trying to do here.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a movement, it would focus on horizontal growth. The corporate world often individualizes success, measuring performance against specific criteria tied to personal goals. However, the impact could be exponential if we shift our perspective to improving everyone around us — even by just 1% — through collaboration, sharing information, open communications and encouragement. Imagine a workplace where each person’s role includes not only meeting individual goals but also contributing to the growth of their colleagues. This kind of environment fosters a culture of continuous improvement and shared success. As leaders, our job should be to grow others and to grow through others, creating a ripple effect of positive change. The collective progress would be remarkable if everyone is committed to improving their environment. We wouldn’t just be meeting goals but instead transforming the very fabric of our organizations for the better.

How can our readers further follow you online?

You can follow me on LinkedIn, and be sure to visit to learn more about LeddarTech and our services. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to hear more about our latest updates.

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.