Road Safety: Digital Innovations can Drive Change

Sponsored Article by Pankaj Singh

Going by the edition theme ‘Digital Safety’ let us try and see if Road Safety also can be advanced using available technologies and solutions at an individual and also enterprise level.

Digitization is the Buzzword today, and in India this agenda has got advanced by a few years due to the ongoing pandemic, COViD 19. In every aspect of life, ‘touch less’ solutions are being designed to ensure we break the chain of infection. This imposed need also generated a lot of enthusiasm in the tech world to innovate new products and solutions to make life easier for all of us.

Road Safety is no different and there has been an accelerated enthusiasm in this space especially for user interface tech solutions to monitor driving behaviour. This is both in the area of telematics for fleet and mobile app solutions for the fleet as well as individual users. We all know what is measured can be improved and the same concept is applicable here too. From my personal experience, I can vouch for this. I will focus mainly on tech-enabled driving behaviour management in this edition.

Let me first talk about how this can help an individual. I started using one of the many mobile applications available in the market as it was given to me free for trial purpose. Yes, that’s correct; we normally do not want to pay for our own safety, so I followed the same practice and started using it free to understand its usage, applicability, accuracy, user-friendliness, etc etc. I knew very well that it is recording my driving pattern viz acceleration, braking, speed, cornering and also the geographical parameters like location, route, duration, timing, etc. I had initial apprehension as we all will have using any new tool and especially these days as we talk about data privacy in all the forums. But I decided to go ahead and try this out. Obviously, the curiosity of checking how I did led me to check my driving score and parameters after almost every trip. Over some time, I also tried to simulate a few conditions (of course with all safeguards) and found the solution to be really accurate and helped me measure my driving behaviour regularly. I started targeting betterment thereafter and consciously avoided certain things that possible went unnoticed earlier. By sharing this here has a linkage to my earlier article (Dec 2020 edition) where I stressed upon ‘what I can do’.

I firmly believe that remaining safe on the road is as much my responsibility as it is of the government to ensure safe infrastructure, signalling systems and enforcement agencies to ensure the rules are followed. The goal is impossible to achieve if ‘I’ do not understand my responsibility and no amount of policemen on the road can change the shameful road safety scenario in India. We will have to look at IoT based tech solutions in the form of telematics, mobile applications or Dashcams to help us become better and SAFER.

Telematics has huge potential to help fleet operators and corporates to measure driving behaviour and support fleet drivers with counselling and required training. This also helps in identifying the training needs to avoid situations that can have negative consequences. Generic training does not help much, and such solutions help with data that is real and individual specific. Many organizations are now creating healthy competition amongst fleet drivers to better by the day through gamification followed by reward and recognition based on driving performance. At the same time, individuals or even large groups can rely on mobile applications to provide similar data which can be viewed by the individuals to understand the areas that need improvement. The Dashcams have immense potential to provide such information along with visuals. When we get to see what led to a harsh braking event, what was going on inside and outside when the event took place, the improvement is inevitable. We all want to drive safe but lack such tools and technology to tell us how we are driving and what needs to improve.

In today’s world, technology is making everything possible then why can’t we opt for them for our own safety. Through this short write up, I call upon my friends to give it a thought and try them out. We have to take steps forward and ensure our roads become safer for us and our family members to travel fearlessly.

Remember: MY Safety is MY Responsibility. Period

  • viAct is a construction tech startup (Contech) that offers an AI monitoring cloud for the
    construction and plant management industries boosted by SOSV and Vectr Ventures, with
    participation from Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, Artesian Ventures and ParticleX. It
    uses AI + IoT + 5G with vision technology to optimize construction safety, productivity and
    compliance. Featured in the list of CEMEX Ventures' TOP 50 most promising startups of 2020
    leading the Contech Ecosystem.

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