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The Philippines launches driver-behaviour monitoring app

Image credit: newsbytes.ph/https://newsbytes.ph

Accidents happen anytime and anywhere but the road is among the most common places where they happen. The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) tags road accidents as one of the leading causes of death among children, overpowering other deadly diseases, including dengue. In fact, in Metro Manila alone, about two children die daily due to road accidents. Considering these facts, a local tech start-up has unveiled an app meant to improve the skills of drivers in the Philippines, particularly truck drivers, to help avoid future accidents.

The tech initiative is a collaboration of a logistics firm, the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The app was formally launched in the country although some of its features are still a work in progress. Developers say that the app features monitoring tools to analyse the behaviour of drivers on the road. The data can then be analysed to recommend changes or suggestions for drivers or companies.

The tech developer also said that the app uses AI technology and data analytics intended to improve driving. Recommendations are given out the data analytics to indicate if a driver is fit to drive or not. In a nutshell, the tech collates data from the behaviour of a truck driver on the road. An Internet-of-things (IoT) device is installed inside a truck to obtain the data.

Moreover, they added that learning modules provided in the app are also available for licenced drivers. A mobile version of the app is already up and running where the learning modules can be accessed. Soon, the app will have “gamification” features, allowing for the simulation of driving and road conditions. IoT devices are also being currently designed for more vehicles, as the positioning of the device will be critical.

The company and the Government said that the app is essential and will help the country’s problems on the road, noting that fatalities on road accidents are mostly caused by trucks, and the country also suffers from a shortage of professional truck drivers. Only a few percent of truck drivers in the country are professionally trained and that there is a shortage of skills among these truck drivers.

DOST undersecretary for research said the project, which is under the auspices of the department through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCCIERD), is a good way of using science and technology to solve the country’s problems, particularly during these challenging times where COVID-19 is still present.

PCCIERD Director also said that the TIP and DOST are now in talks with other government agencies, which earlier expressed interest in the driver monitoring app. The Government also made sure that the developers are being funded and supported by the DOST and PCCIERD. Funding for the app is reportedly a little over PHP4 million.

Accordingly, the Government has committed to give local start-ups the benefits and incentives provided under the recently signed Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Start-up Act. The law aims to help start-ups and start-up enablers by providing incentives like travel grants, access to a Start-up Venture Fund, and assistance in getting visas and business permits.

Aside from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the DOST, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are the host agencies to implement the Philippine Start-up Development Program, composed of programs, benefits, and incentives for the start-up community.

The Government added that this coronavirus pandemic has shown that with limited human interaction and cities in lockdown, many businesses ground to a halt.  Without sufficient technology and automation in place, high-touch human operations became paralysed. As the world recovers, it would require a reimagination of human and business processes to future-proof against the next crisis.

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