Smart Vehicle App That Brakes for Pedestrians Part of Ann Arbor SPARK Accelerator

An app that alerts smart vehicles to pedestrian activity to prevent collisions has partnered with the University of Michigan and is in Ann Arbor SPARK’s accelerator.
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!important app graphic
The !important app for phones alerts nearby connected vehicles to pedestrian activity. // Image courtesy of !important

An app that alerts smart vehicles to pedestrian activity to prevent collisions has partnered with the University of Michigan and is in Ann Arbor SPARK’s accelerator.

Ann Arbor SPARK works to make the region a destination for expanding business and manufacturing development. The nonprofit also supports startup companies and new technologies.

California-based !important, an app that communicates users’ locations to nearby connected vehicles, can alert drivers and trigger vehicles’ brakes automatically to prevent collisions. It is available for free on the Apple and Android app stores.

The app cites a French automotive study from 2003 that shows pedestrian deaths come from 20 common scenarios that can be categorized into four groups: driver responsibility (35 percent), visual blockage (28 percent), unpredictable pedestrian behavior (26 percent), and weather conditions (11 percent). Existing vehicle sensors such as cameras, radars, sonars, and lidars address the first category, and the app is designed to address the other three.

“This solves the remaining 65 percent of death cases,” says Bastien Beauchamp, inventor and CEO of !important. “We hope it will become a regulation for the automotive industry.”

Early next year, the technology is slated to be implemented in vehicles on the roads of Reno, Nev. As part of the Intelligent Mobility initiative in collaboration with the Nevada Center for Applied Research at the University of Nevada in Reno.

!important was nominated by Alibaba Jumpstarter 2020 in the Top 30 Startups of Silicon Valley. It is backed by groups of medical doctors and part of the University of California Berkeley Skydeck’s accelerator programs. It collaborates with 12 universities.

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