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Tanzania wants smart tech to stop traffic carnage

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Tanzanian transport regulator SUMATRA is looking to use a smart tracking system to reduce traffic accidents by monitoring vehicle speeds of public service vehicles, writes RUSSELL SOUTHWOOD.

Muchangwe Ferrao looks at how a vehicle monitoring system from a Tanzanian start-up called CUMii can tackle this task.

Tanzania loses thousands of lives each year through road traffic accidents. In 2015, the Bureau of Statistics recorded about 10,000 injuries, and 3500 deaths as a result of carnage on the roads. The government now seeks to implement intelligent systems such as ConnectCar to make the country’s roads safer.

With an estimated population of 4.4 million, Dar es Salaam operates a mixed transport system that includes boda-bodas (motor-bikes), bajaj (three-wheel motorized cart), and dala dalas (commuter bus), all servicing main metropolitan areas. Being a port town, Dar es Salaam also serves as transit/gateway for large amounts of local and international traffic, which makes its road network not only busy, but also highly treacherous.

The volume of traffic presents a challenge for the governing body – Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) – in managing safety effectively. In the past, SUMATRA has used traditional electrical speed monitors but these have been ineffective as drivers easily tamper with them, thus making data recovered unreliable.

In a tender recently issued by the regulator, the primary mandate set by the government is to reduce the number of traffic accidents by implementing a smart tracking system. The system will not only monitor and track all passenger carrying motor vehicles, but essentially give control to the authority, as well as fleet owners to enhance safety, reduce idling time, manage fuel costs, as well as insurance premiums by having real time business changing data at their finger tips.

In Tanzania, Vodacom has partnered with CUMii, a leading African company in disruptive technology, to introduce ConnectedCar.

ConnectedCar is a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) tracking service that monitors driver behavior using a remote management platform. Once installed, ConnectedCar can converge with different devices including smart phones, cameras, gas readers, and many more via the Internet. It is easily configured to meet user requirements and using a mobile app or web interface displays information such as:

–  Driving habits – e.g. hard braking

–  Trip reports & customised reports

–  Geo fencing

–  Real time tracking

–  Battery Tampering Alerts

–  Multiple Driver tags & Panic button

–  Fuel Management

–  Violations notifications via SMS, email

–  Route Planning and Management

This information offers both control over safety and security, savings on insurance premiums and much more. Effectively it is an all round cost management product.

According to Chief Officer – Business Enterprise, Gregory Verbond: “Connected devices can be used to improve public safety, conserve resources, boost productivity and support the government effectively. Tanzania stands to benefit by implementing M2M solutions that bring hardware, software and data analytics together in a single solution which is what this partnership brings to the table.”

The unique features of this technology can aid in other areas where governments and enterprise seek to curb fraud through abuse of assets.  In a recent media statement, Commissioner of Policy and Procurement, Frederic Mwakibinga emphasised the need for more stringent monitoring tools to eliminate the mis-use of government vehicles in Tanzania. ConnectedCar can help to achieve this too.

Research has shown that markets that have implemented this technology effectively have resulted in profits of up-to 12% experienced through cost saving and management. This is a substantial amount to a country like Tanzania where road accidents cost the government approximately Tshs. 20 billion annually.

In cities such as Dar es Salaam where road accidents due to negligence and reckless driving are part of daily life, ConnectedCar, can make a real difference. In its simplest form, this service is friendly enough to be used by anyone concerned about the safety of the of loved ones, bajaj owners and families alike.

Local engineers known as Technites, who are trained and accredited by CUMii, do the installations. This model aims to ensure quality and excellence, as well as enhance local skills whilst creating new jobs in the local market.

* Russell Southwood is editor of Smart Monkey TV.  To subscribe to its web TV channel, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/SmartMonkeyTV/videos

Cars

Why sports cars make us feel good

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Forget romance, fine dining or an epic boxset binge – new preliminary research reveals that driving a sports car on a daily basis is among the best ways to boost your sense of wellbeing and emotional fulfilment.

The study measured “buzz moments” – peak thrills that play a vital role in our overall wellness – as volunteers cheered on their favourite football team, watched a gripping Game of Thrones episode, enjoyed a passionate kiss with a loved one or took an intense salsa dancing class. Only the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster ranked higher than the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car.

Working with neuroscientists and designers, Ford brought the research to life with the unique Ford Performance Buzz Car: a customised Ford Focus RS incorporating wearable and artificial intelligence technology to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. 

Watch the video here https://youtu.be/AFpt6jziFsU

“A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day,” said Dr Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily wellbeing routine.”

Study participants who sat behind the wheel of a Ford Focus RS, Focus ST or Mustang experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute; this compared with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining or sharing a passionate kiss. 

For the research, Ford took one Focus RS and worked with Designworks to create the Buzz Car:

From concept, design and installation to software development and programming, the Buzz Car took 1,400 man-hours to create. Each “buzz moment” experienced by the driver – analysed using a real-time “emotional AI” system developed by leading empathic technology firm Sensum – produces a dazzling animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car also features:

  • High-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC
  • 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips
  • 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs

Driver state research

Researchers at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany are already looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to drivers’ emotions. As part of the EUfunded ADAS&ME project, Ford experts are investigating how in-car systems may one day be aware of our emotions – as well as levels of stress, distraction and fatigue – providing prompts and warnings, and could even take control of the car in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr Marcel Mathissen, research scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

Activity Buzz Moments *
Roller Coaster 3
Driving 2.1
Shopping 1.7
Game of Thrones 1.5
Football Game 1.5
Kissing 0
Salsa Dancing 0
Dining 0

* Average number of high-intensity buzz moments per participant

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Car that sees round corners

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Jaguar Land Rover is leading a £4.7 million (approximately R79 million) project to develop self-driving cars that can ‘see’ at blind junctions and through obstacles.

Britain’s biggest carmaker is leading a project called AutopleX to combine connected, automated and live mapping tech so more information is provided earlier to the self-driving car. This enables automated cars to communicate with all road users and obstacles where there is no direct view, effectively helping them see, so they can safely merge lanes and negotiate complex roundabouts autonomously.

Chris Holmes, Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Research Manager at Jaguar Land Rover said: “This project is crucial in order to bring self-driving cars to our customers in the near future. Together with our AutopleX partners, we will merge our connected and autonomous research to empower our self-driving vehicles to operate safely in the most challenging, real-world traffic situations. This project will ensure we deliver the most sophisticated and capable automated driving technology.”

Jaguar Land Rover is developing fully- and semi-automated vehicle technologies, offering customers a choice of an engaged or automated drive, while maintaining an enjoyable and safe driving experience. The company’s vision is to make the self-driving car viable in the widest range of real-life, on- and off-road driving environments and weather.

AutopleX will develop the technology through simulation and public road testing both on motorways and in urban environments in the West Midlands. Highways England, INRIX, Ricardo, Siemens, Transport for West Midlands and WMG at the University of Warwick join the AutopleX consortium, which was announced as part of Innovate UK’s third round of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Funding in March 2018.

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