Abu Dhabi students win Dh1m for driving app

NYU students
The NYU Abu Dhabi team with their Dh1-million cheque

New drivers often approach driving as they do video games. But with lives at stake, countless warnings have been issued in an attempt to change this mindset.

In fact, according to the World Health Organisation’s Global Status on Road Safety 2015 Report, more than 1.2 million people die each year on the world’s roads. So a group of students in the UAE decided to improve matters with an app focused on road safety. And they’ve won Dh1 million for their efforts.

RoadWatch, an app designed by students of NYU Abu Dhabi, took top honours in the m-government Service Award’s university category at the World Government Summit in Dubai. The app is built around the idea of turning driving into a game in which a points system encourages and motivates drivers to following road regulations and drive more carefully.

Designed to promote safe driving, the application displays the current state of the roads and related statistics and warns drivers when exceeding the speed limit or when an emergency services vehicle is approaching. It also notifies drivers of any road accidents and heavy fog in order to adjust routes and reduce speed as necessary.

Coupled with a smartwatch that monitors driver heartrate and hand movement, RoadWatch is able to raise alarm to counteract driver drowsiness.

Driving statistics are also anonymously fed back to the Ministry of Interior to assist in planning roads infrastructure by helping identify problematic locations where drivers brake abruptly, swerve sharply, or get stuck in traffic jams.

“It was an incredibly inspiring and empowering process to build our imagination into reality with our best friends, in the supportive environment of the Engineering Design Studio and in intimate collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Interior,” says NYUAD Class of 2017 student and team member Quan Ho Vuong.

Other members of the team were Maitha Salem Al Memari, Kai-Erik Marechal Jensen, Kenny Song and Lingliang Zhang. The university competition saw 94 entries from 21 universities.

The Best m-Government Service Award aims to motivate government entities to provide innovative solutions in the field of smartphone applications, mobile web SMS and smart wearable technology.

For more information about the RoadWatch application, click here.