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All eyes road..wins Dh1m

Kelly Clarke/Dubai
Filed on February 10, 2016 | Last updated on February 11, 2016 at 06.52 am
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai presenting the Students Award (Road Watch) to New York University, Abu Dhabi during the Best m-Government Service ceremony on the final day at the WGS on Wednesday.Photo by Juidin Bernarrd

New York University Abu Dhabi students win Dh1 million prize money for innovative app at Best m-Government Service Awards.

Five university students from New York University Abu Dhabi bagged the Dh1 million prize money during the third edition of the Best m-Government Service Award on the closing day of the World Government Summit in Dubai on Wednesday.

After spending "four to five months" developing RoadWatch, a mobile, web and wearable application which monitors road behavior, the innovate five-some, made up of Kai-erik Jensen, Maitha Salem, Kenny Song, Quan Vuong, and Ling Zhang, beat off stiff competition from three other teams to reign victorious in 2016.A total of 194 university teams applied for the Award, with only four teams reaching the finals including RoadWatch, Air-Book (Khalifa University for Science Technology & Research), Face Your Fear (University of Sharjah), and Parent App (American University of Sharjah).His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, handed over the winning prize money to the team.

Speaking to Khaleej Times about the impressive application service, Jensen explained how it came to be.

"We spent considerable time evaluating pain points in the UAE. We decided to target road safety since it is still a disproportionately high cause of death in the country and other advanced nations."After much brainstorming, the team then decided it would bring together their diverse skills to prevent death, injury, and help save billions of dirhams a year.

So what does it do?

"RoadWatch is a mobile, web, and wearable app that reduces accident causing behavior, improves accident response times, and improves road design through big data, all by connecting road authorities to users and incentivising good behavior through gamification."

On the team's dedicated website, www.roadwatch.ae, it states the app "provides real-time road condition updates from vehicle and MOI data".

It also allows the MOI to set dynamic speed limits, create hazard regions, and view anonymised, map-based data on driving habits.

RoadWatch also detects fatigue by detecting changes in micro-hand-movements and alerts the user, the team said.

Using accelerometer and GPS in your phone, it can track speeding, swerving and sudden stops.

The MOI web-app also allows voice communication with each individual user's mobile app in 15 languages about accidents, fog, and other road hazards.

The team plan to further develop the app using the Dh1 million prize fund.

The annual event, now in its third edition, aims to honour governments from all around the world that have created apps that make a difference in people's lives. The University Student participation level is applicable only to students within the UAE. Kelly@khaleejtimes.com


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