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BGU’s App Knows All, Tells All on Driver Behavior

BGU’s App Knows All, Tells All on Driver Behavior

April 30, 2015

Robotics & High-Tech

The Times of Israel — Technology that keeps an eye on traffic, provides turn-by-turn directions, and keeps track of movements and footsteps for exercisers and runners has been re-purposed – to report on how well drivers observe the rules of the road.

The app, created by Dr. Eli Rohn and six of his students at BGU’s Department of Information Systems Engineering, has the potential to be the ultimate “spy app” for police and insurance companies.

“I prefer to look at it in a more positive sense. Insurance companies already know who is at risk and who is a bad driver, but they don’t know who the good drivers are,” says Dr. Rohn.

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“Instead of just punishing the bad drivers with higher rates and restrictions, which they already do, they could use this technology to determine who the good drivers are, for a change, and reward them.”

The app, which is still under development (it should be ready for the market in the coming months, according to the team) uses a smartphone’s sensors to collect data in real time while an individual is driving and stores it in a cloud-based database.

It uses the smartphone’s built-in technology – GPS chip, accelerometer, camera, motion detector, wifi, etc., to record everything that happens on a trip.

If the driver goes over the speed limit, the app records that; if a driver swerves, stops short, or switches lanes too often, the app records that as well. All the information is uploaded to the cloud, where it is analyzed and personalized. Anyone who is authorized (including the driver) can get specifics on an entire trip or just the metrics that interest them.

And even though “there is definitely plenty of opportunity for the technology to be abused, I prefer to think that it will be used as a carrot, not a stick,” says Dr. Rohn.

For example, says Dr. Rohn, “you could reward drivers who are already restricted with an easing of those restrictions for good road behavior.”

That could apply, he says, to new drivers in jurisdictions (like in Israel) where they are required to have an adult accompanying them for their first six months or year on the road.

“With a good report after three months, they could get an exemption for driving with an adult, or for being limited in the number of passengers they can drive with.”

Read more on The Times of Israel website >>

Listen to a radio interview with Dr. Rohn>>