x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Slow down app?

In a country where speeding is one of the main causes of road fatalities, developing an app that would make us slow down would perhaps be a good option.

Nurturing a capacity for innovation in the young generation of Emiratis is at the heart of the UAE's progress. So the ingenuity of Humaid Al Ali and Nada Obaid, students of computer engineering at the American University of Sharjah, deserves recognition and applause.

What they invented promises to have remarkable utility. In case of a car accident, their smartphone app, called iBump, can quickly send a message to emergency services, triggered by the built-in accelerometers in most of these phones, and using their GPS capability.

The app is meant to distinguish between sharp braking and a collision, reducing the possibility of a false alarm (a claim that must be tested).

As practical as this may prove to be, the iBump seems unlikely to help reduce the UAE's road-fatality toll. The National reported last week that the death rate on the roads has helped push the country to the bottom of a life-expectancy league table of comparable nations. Speeding has been identified as one of the main causes of road crashes.

Faced with such a grim scenario, the best option would be for drivers to slow down voluntarily. Barring that unlikely response, surely someone could design an app that does it for us. Maybe the iSlow?