The high number of casualties in road accidents has prompted two entrepreneurs, Prasad Pillai and Jayanth Jagadeesh, to manufacture a gadget that automatically alerts rescue services in case of an accident. Raksha SafeDrive, an innovation from Elsys Intelligent Devices, a Thiruvananthapuram-based startup with an office in Bengaluru, debuted on KickStarter, the world's leading crowdfunding platform, last month.
In the event of a crash, Raksha Safedrive, placed on the rearview mirror in front of the driver, will also send the location details of the vehicle and an initial assessment of the severity of the accident. It has a Smart Panic Button that provides a one-touch two-way voice connectivity with the support network, and can be used in case of an emergency. Officials from the centre will call the vehicle in distress, assesses the situation, and provide the needed assistance.
“Most drivers live through a near-miss accident scenario every week. We thank our stars, curse the other guy and move on. There is no reason why accident preparedness and management has to be so disorganised," says CEO Prasad, who calls himself a safety freak, who likes to dream big and use technology to solve our everyday problems.
The gadget has been designed in such a way that there is minimal impact of the crash on the gadget itself. It’s an accessory that can be charged like a mobile phone. With a single charge, it works for six to eight hours. Mr. Prasad says they eventually plan to tie up with car manufacturers so that it comes inbuilt in all cars.
Mr. Prasad says that the company takes privacy issues very seriously, and data security features are as strict as in banks. The data collection features are turned off by default. All personal data are anonymised. Only in the event of an accident, the location of the vehicle is made known to the command centre.
“Most of the apps now can be used only to send an SOS alert. But ours provides a full infrastructure to provide all forms of assistance to occupants of a car involved in the crash,” says CMO Jayanth Jagadeesh, an avid biker, who has done a solo motorcycle road trip from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
The founders are also looking at beyond the gadget being merely an accident-alert system. It can gather data on driving patterns such as overspeeding, sudden applying of brakes or how often and where a vehicle has gone over potholes. The data analytics can warn motorists of stretches that have dangerous road conditions.
Mr. Prasad and Mr. Jagadeesh feel the current system of enforcing road discipline by only penalising errant drivers must be changed to one that will also incentivise good driving. “We can now measure driving pattern, and the data can be used to give a scorecard to the drivers, and even give discounts in insurance premium as a discount for good driving skills.”