How an app aims to make us drive better

driving-appWhilst there has been no shortage of publicity for driverless technology innovations in recent months, there is also a lot of work going on to make human based driving safer.

For instance, a recent project by Jaguar LandRover uses laser holographic techniques to project a range of information onto the windscreen, including speed, direction and navigation.

There are also various innovations that aim to monitor how we drive and make suggestions for improvement.  One project along these lines is being developed by Cambridge Mobile Telematics.

Safe apps

The company develop incentive-based apps that aim to make drivers safer.  Their core product, called DriveWell, runs in the background on a smartphone, collecting data as the driver travels on things such as the road type, the smoothness of the journey, speed and even factors such as whether the driver is distracted by the phone itself.

It then sends the driver a safety score out of 100, along with some details on their journey and some tips for how they can drive more safely.  This score can be used by the motorist to secure discounts with insurance companies or even prizes if they compete with friends.

The app has already been put through its paces in South Africa where it powered a national safe-driving contest.  The contest suggested that the app helped to contribute to a 30% increase in safe driving.

“Many people blame phones for causing accidents, but we are demonstrating the possibility of using smartphones to make driving safer,” the team say.

Improving road safety

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that around 1.25 million people die each year due to traffic accidents, so anything that can improve that has to be applauded.

What’s more, WHO estimate that the number of traffic accidents are going to rise, with predictions that it will be the 7th biggest killer in the world by 2030.

The app is currently in use in eight countries, and is working with a growing list of partners, including a number of major insurance companies.

With augmented windshields a very real possibility in the near future, the developers have also built a hardware tag that fits to the windshield and works with the smartphone app.

This will enable things such as accident data to be captured and reported.

The eventual hope is that the gamified nature of the app will act as a major driver of behavioral change in motorists.

It has already been verified by a couple of research papers plus the substantial results from the field, so it seems like a technology whose time has come.

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