WASHINGTON – Smartphones are increasingly associated with distracted driving. A new smartphone app aims to discourage distracted driving while alerting drivers to road and weather hazards.
“Mobile Life Guard” was developed by Ram Dantu, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas. “After you put the phone on your arm rest and turn it on, it will sense the way you drive – the way you change lanes, the way you break, the way you make lane changes,” Dantu explained.
The artificial intelligence incorporated into the app enables smartphones to detect weather, road conditions and hazardous driving using existing sensors. Dantu’s driving app integrates sensors embedded in smartphones with software he developed to detect driving patterns. If a user is heavy on the gas pedal or riding the brakes, a voice in the smartphone will alert them.
Dantu said a signal processing technique uses multiple sensors that detect what the driver is doing. Then, artificial intelligence is applied to detect driving patterns. The app uses up to five sensors already installed in smartphones. “No add-ons are required,” he added. “You only have to download the app.”
While smartphones themselves are contributing to the incidence of distracted driving, Dantu said “mobile phones can help improve road safety by sensing, sharing and providing feedback to drivers.” Danta said he uses the app each day during his one-hour commute from home to the university.
Ram Dantu, a University of North Texas engineering professor, holds his smartphone app for safe driving
Dantu, an expert in wireless networks and security, was among the first group of scientists to receive a $50,000 grant in the fall of 2011 awarded under the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Innovation Corps program. I-Corps aims to help scientists and engineers get their ideas out of the laboratory and off the work bench and into the commercial sector.
NSF said the Mobile Life Guard app will be available soon, but did not specify a date.Related stories:NSF's I-Corps targets 'innovation ecosystem'
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