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New Mobile Life Guard app monitors driving behavior and issues verbal alerts

Ram Dantu, a professor of computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas, is developing “Mobile Life Guard”—a mobile app that will enable smart phones to detect weather, road conditions and bad driving using existing sensors in the devices.

In the fall of 2011, Dantu, an expert in wireless networks and security, was among the first group of scientists to receive a $50,000 National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) award, which supports a set of activities and programs that prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory into the commercial world. The safe driving app is the result of this work.

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 brake, the way you make lane changes, tailgating—on all aspects of your driving.

—Ram Dantu

The app then issues a verbal alert, such as “Sudden accelerate”; “Hard braking”; “vehicle wandering detected”; “tailgating detected”; “lane hopping detected”; “bad right (or left) lane change”; or “left (or right) swerve detected”, among other things. It also will warn you not to talk or text.

Dantu’s driving system integrates existing sensors in the phone with new software that can detect various maneuvers by drivers.

There is a signal processing technique using multiple sensors that picks up what the driver is doing, then we use artificial intelligence to detect different driving patterns on the road. Based on that, we would classify what kind of event is happening. We are using four or five sensors already in the phone. You won’t have to buy anything new for the phone. No add-ons are required. You only will have to download the app.

—Ram Dantu

Currently, the app is undergoing a field trial with insurance industry backing. If it is successful, users could be eligible for insurance premium safe driver discounts, Dantu says.



who the hell is going to buy this?

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