Israeli smartphone app lets cars 'communicate' to prevent crashes

The dashcam app crowdsources data from its users, serving as a live artificial-intelligence-based messaging system and pre-empts chain reaction crashes.

November 15, 2016 16:28
2 minute read.

A screenshot of the driving app Nexar. (photo credit: NEXAR)

Users of an Israeli dashboard camera app powered by artificial intelligence will now be able to connect to the world’s first smartphone-based vehicle- to-vehicle (V2V) network, sharing roadside dangers with nearby cars in hopes of preventing collisions.

The Israel/US-based startup Nexar announced the network’s launch on Tuesday, linking together drivers who have been using the app since its release in February. Available in San Francisco and New York, and intending to expand to additional cities in the near future, the Nexar network features realtime warning technologies by employing smartphones alone, according to the company.

“Given the technology that exists today, the fact that there are still tens of thousands of fatal vehicle collisions in the US each year is unacceptable,” said Eran Shir, CEO of Nexar.

“We can’t afford to wait for the advent of autonomous cars to remove human error from the equation. With Nexar, users can avoid unfortunate accidents by getting more pertinent information about the road in realtime, saving lives and making the roads a safer place for everyone.”

Up until now, the only way to create such a communication network was by installing hazard detection hardware, like Mobileye, into vehicles, a spokesman for the firm explained.

To use Nexar, drivers simply mount their smartphones to their dashboard, allowing Nexar to continuously record the road in front of them. When the user either taps on the screen, says “Hey Nexar” out loud or when Nexar detects a hard brake or crash, the app automatically creates an incident and uploads it to the Nexar Cloud, information from the company said.

Once the user connects to WiFi, Nexar uploads a secure, highly compressed time-lapse of rides to the Nexar servers, providing users with a history of his or her rides. The app continuously deletes old rides to ensure it does not monopolize the phone’s storage.

While some 20 million miles have been driven and more than half a million dangerous driving incidents recorded by users since the February release, Nexar is now enabling cars running the app to communicate with each other.

In order to connect vehicles, Nexar leverages deep learning and smartphone sensors to interpret the direction, speed and acceleration of surrounding vehicles and road conditions, creating a comprehensive road map and dispersing that information, the firm said. The dashcam app crowdsources data from its users, serving as a live artificial intelligence-based messaging system which attempts to preempt chain-reaction crashes by alerting users to upcoming dangers, according to the company.

“Our technology leverages deep learning and ultra-fast network messaging, but for the user it’s incredibly simple,” Shir said, stressing that the app can provide drivers with critical time to avoid catastrophes and save lives. “The more drivers that secure themselves by joining in, the fewer tragedies will plague our roads.”

While network is currently available only in the two US cities, Israeli users can still download the Nexar app and use the dashcam features in their own cars independently.

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