Handing your kid a set of car keys can be a nerve-wracking experience, particularly these days with the additional dangers of distracted driving from smartphones and other mobile devices. As much as 25 percent of car crashes are caused by distracted driving, according to a recent study, with texting likely increasing the danger even more than talking on a phone. So we realized there was an opportunity to see what technologies might be used to reduce some of those road risks. What we came up with is a project called Driving Safety, a device which plugs into a car's computer and which gives parents the ability to monitor in real time how their kids are driving and even disable calls, texts and other social networking features on their mobile devices while behind the wheel.
How did the Idea Hatch?
The initial idea for Driving Safety came to the AT&T Foundry innovation center in Israel in April 2011 through a fast pitch presentation by Israeli company Traffilog. Traffilog had developed a proprietary technology that combines vehicle and driver diagnostics, providing drivers and fleet managers with personalized real-time alerts and periodic reports that ultimately improve driving behavior and vehicle mechanical maintenance. But researchers at the AT&T Foundry and sponsor Amdocs realized the technology could be adapted to the consumer market to address concerns around distracted driving. We decided to repurpose Traffilog's enterprise fleet management software, mash it up with the AT&T Network and create a real time smart car policy solution allowing parents to control and understand teen driving habits.
About the Project
Driving Safety will provide parents with real time remote monitoring tools, allowing them to track behavior while driving, map a driver's driving style based on data analysis, and determine their risk level. In addition, parents will be able to remotely control their kid's mobile device while driving and enable/disable them from receiving text messages or incoming calls, or even messages and notifications from chat services and other social networking apps. This service is part of AT&T's larger commitment to safe driving, which includes apps such as Drive Mode for Android and BlackBerry, which creates a sort of "out-of-office" message for people trying to contact you while you're driving, and our education campaign on the dangers of distracted driving.
Our goal is for AT&T to become the leading provider of smart car solutions that increase customer safety and enable the next-generation integration between consumers, cars and the environment. We see potential for the following services:
- Provide an SDK (software development kit) for external app developers to create services for drivers such as: road assistance, accident management, theft management, and car maintenance.
- Enable insurance companies to vary their policy offerings based on customer's driving behavior/risk level.
- Implement location-based services in different categories and market segments (e.g. social messaging, social gaming, geo-fencing, family safety).
About the Researcher
Raz Dar manages the business operation of the AT&T Foundry in Israel for sponsor company Amdocs. After many years in the telecommunication space with track record of leading innovative solutions to tier-1 clients across the world, joining the AT&T Foundry was a natural transition bringing all this knowledge to AT&T. Raz is a former award-winning international swimmer.