NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2014 – An app that alerts pedestrians as they are about to enter an intersection and one that alerts drivers when they are showing signs of drowsiness are the grand prize winners in AT&T’s* Connected Intersections Challenge, a tech challenge aimed at spurring technological solutions to improve traffic safety on New York City streets. For the past four months, developers from around the world worked on technologies that utilize wireless networks to better connect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists and alert them to potential dangers. Forty-five teams from 13 countries and 26 states submitted their apps and wearable devices ranging from smartphone sensors, phone-to-phone communications and natural user interfaces, among other technologies. Eight received prizes today.
A panel of leading advocates in transportation, government and technology judged the competition. The group–Marissa Shorenstein of AT&T; Kim Wiley-Schwartz of the New York City Department of Transportation; Mitchell Moss of NYU Rudin Center for Transportation; Matthew Brimer of General Assembly; Luke DuBois of New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering; and Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab –presented the awards to the winning developers in the Solutions for Drivers, Solutions for Pedestrians and Cyclists, Multi-Modal and Popular Choice Categories.
“Today’s mobile technology allows us to envision and create solutions to problems in completely new and different ways,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York State President of AT&T. “By focusing this challenge on traffic safety, AT&T hopes to spur a wave of innovation aimed at making our streets safer for all that use them. The creative solutions we see here today are just the beginning.”
“New York City’s Vision Zero initiative means that we need to use every tool in our arsenal to drive down traffic related fatalities and injuries. The AT&T Connected Intersections traffic safety tech challenge calls on the tech industry to try innovation as simple as the phone in your pocket to improve safety for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike,” said Kim Wiley-Schwartz, Assistant Commissioner for Education and Outreach, New York City’s Department of Transportation. “We commend these entrepreneurs and applaud the efforts of AT&T and NYU Poly to do everything they can to make the streets safer.”
“When NYC Media Lab started talking about this set of issues with AT&T in 2012, we hoped what was then a seed research project with masters’ students at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering might lead to a broader effort to explore how new media and communications technologies can be employed to make the City a safer place,” said Justin Hendrix, Executive Director, NYC Media Lab. “It was rewarding to judge this challenge and see the many ideas and inventions submitted that seek to do just that.”
“Novel engineering solutions that improve street and traffic safety in New York City will benefit all of us,” said R. Luke DuBois, co-director of the NYU School of Engineering Integrated Digital Media program. “This challenge—and the work that evolves from it—is a testament to our enduring advocacy on this issue and our role in developing applied solutions that advance the goals of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative. The School of Engineering is proud to have worked with AT&T, the NYC Media Lab, the Rudin Center, and all our other collaborators to develop and support the Connected Intersections challenge.”
“This competition demonstrates that the technologies people already have in their hands and in their cars can and should be used to improve pedestrian and street safety in urban centers,” said Mitchell L. Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at NYU Wagner, and Director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation. “We were excited to be a part of this innovative competition with AT&T and complement enhanced enforcement efforts with scalable technologies to improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.”
“In a world that’s being transformed by technology, it’s important we connect responsibly,” said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost, the web platform and developer network that powered the competition. “Through Connected Intersections, developers have shown how thoughtfully-designed software and hardware have the power to not only connect us, but make us safer.”
The winners of the Challenge are as follows:
Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists – Grand Prize Winner & Popular Choice Winner
Utilizing low-energy Bluetooth technology, messages are sent from crosswalk signs to all smart phones at the intersection running the application in order to alert pedestrians to wait for oncoming traffic or to cross safely when they have the right of way.
Solutions for Drivers – Grand Prize Winner
Using a Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch and a smartphone, the Anti-Sleep Alarm app detects the drowsiness of a driver via hand gestures or facial recognition and prompts the driver to pull over and rest or it sets off an alarm if the app determines the driver is falling asleep behind the wheel.
Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists– Second Prize Winner & Multi-Modal Winner
Rider Alert hardware scans the street for Bluetooth-enabled smart phones while moving through traffic with a motorist. It will sound an alert on smartphones running the Rider Alert application when pedestrians and cyclists are nearby. The app also uses smart phone sensors to notice if the driver is looking at the smart phone screen and warns the driver to look up.
Utilizing Bluetooth low-energy technology, Yield detects drivers or pedestrians within 10 to 30 meters in proximity of a smart phone using the app and delivers an alert notifying them to the other person’s presence.
Solutions for Drivers – Popular Choice Winner
Using facial recognition technology, the app determines when a driver is getting drowsy and sends a warning followed by an alert that can be deactivated only when driving is ceased. The app also sends alerts to others in the area that a drowsy driver is nearby.
Solutions for Drivers – Second Prize Winner
An app that uses NFC technology to determine if a smart phone user is sitting in the drivers seat of a vehicle and sends an auto-reply message to incoming calls and texts while the vehicle is moving The app runs in the background and will not activate on public transit or when the smart phone owner is a passenger in a vehicle.
Solutions for Pedestrians & Cyclists – Large Organization Recognition Award
Utilizing GPS technology, smart phone accelerometer and wearable sensors, the app anticipates when a pedestrian is crossing an intersection and delivers an on-screen alert warning the pedestrian to look up.
Solutions for Drivers – Large Organization Recognition Award
An app that awards points to drivers for not texting while driving and provides the smart phone owner the opportunity to redeem those points for products and services at partner companies.
AT&T cemented its leadership role as a traffic safety advocate in 2010 when it developed and launched the “It Can Wait” campaign to spread awareness among drivers about the dangers of texting while driving. The nation’s other leading wireless carriers have since joined the campaign.
The Connected Intersections Challenge was kicked off with the release of a white paper from AT&T and NYC Media Lab that drew on research from around the country and examined smartphone distraction and impediments to traffic safety, titled “Exploring How Mobile Technologies Impact Pedestrian Safety.”
For more information on the winning solutions and all of the submissions, visit http://intersections.challengepost.com/.
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