A crash-de­tect­ing app that trav­els with you CrashDetech is an app that de­tects when you are in­volved in an ac­ci­dent…and sum­mons help.

Finweek English Edition - - THE WEEK - Ed­i­to­rial@fin­week.co.za

emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel re­fer to it as the “golden hour” – that crit­i­cal time fol­low­ing a trau­matic in­jury dur­ing which med­i­cal at­ten­tion is likely to save a life. With no less than 47 fa­tal­i­ties on South Africa’s roads ev­ery day, ac­cord­ing to LeadSA/Ar­rive Alive, that golden hour takes on a lot more sig­nif­i­cance.

The prob­lem gets stick­ier if an ac­ci­dent oc­curs on a quiet road with lit­tle like­li­hood of any­one wit­ness­ing the ac­ci­dent or ren­der­ing aid. And while a smart­phone might be to hand, ac­ci­dent vic­tims might not be in a con­di­tion to sum­mon help them­selves.

This was the prob­lem that Dy­na­mus Tech­nolo­gies CEO Jaco Ger­rits wanted to ad­dress with his smart­phone app CrashDetech. This app does not rely on a per­son to ac­ti­vate an emer­gency. Ac­ti­vated by the smart­phone app on im­pact, med­i­cal help for mo­torists in dis­tress is im­me­di­ately sum­moned.

Ger­rits es­tab­lished Dy­na­mus Tech­nolo­gies in 2002, win­ning the Top In­for­ma­tion & Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy En­tre­pre­neur in Africa award in 2007. The com­pany has de­vel­oped nu­mer­ous tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions, among them the Them­bela skills and re­cruit­ment project linked to min­ing com­pa­nies and lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

Se­lected to com­pete in the fi­nals of The Ven­ture com­pe­ti­tion, the Dy­na­mus Tech­nolo­gies CEO is off on an­other award-seek­ing jour­ney. This time to New York in July to pit his CrashDetech so­lu­tion against so­cial en­trepreneurs from 26 other coun­tries.

One of CrashDetech’s dif­fer­en­tia­tors is that it is por­ta­ble, at­tached to the in­di­vid­ual’s smart­phone and trav­els with them whether as driver, pas­sen­ger or pub­lic trans­port user. The app, which runs on the IOS and An­droid plat­forms, re­quires a one-time log in with the auto-drive de­tec­tion sen­sor au­to­mat­i­cally open­ing the app.

The app took 18 months to de­velop and knows the dif­fer­ence be­tween a mild im­pact and a se­ri­ous crash. “The sen­sors on the phone are able to pick up the force of ac­cel­er­a­tion (g-force), a se­ri­ous car crash some­times gen­er­at­ing in ex­cess of 30 g’s. We spent a lot of time en­gi­neer­ing a so­lu­tion to elim­i­nate ‘false pos­i­tives’; the CrashDetech pro­pri­etary al­go­rithm mon­i­tor­ing the phone’s sen­sors elim­i­nate them,” ex­plains Ger­rits.

So while you may get a call to find out if you re­quire as­sis­tance after a mi­nor in­ci­dent, the like­li­hood of an en­tire fleet of emer­gency ser­vices ar­riv­ing on the scene of such an event is low.

There is in­signif­i­cant bat­tery drainage when the app is run­ning. “The al­go­rithm is de­signed so that there is no sig­nif­i­cant drainage of the bat­tery for stan­dard driv­ing (two to three hours/day). We had to ad­dress that to en­sure that users did not unin­stall the app,” ex­plains Ger­rits. If you hap­pen to be driv­ing for 10 hours on the trot, it is likely to have some im­pact on the phone’s bat­tery.

CrashDetech’s free ver­sion pro­vides users with a monthly 30-trip limit that in­cludes au­to­matic crash de­tec­tion and send­ing of an emer­gency alert sms to that user’s per­sonal emer­gency con­tacts.

Sub­scrip­tion op­tions range from R49 to R109 per month. All in­clude the im­me­di­ate dis­patch of emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices to the crash lo­ca­tion and pro­vi­sion of a wind­screen med­i­cal ID disc with med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion, cru­cial in the event of smart­phone dam­age.

An au­to­mated log­book fea­ture is also in­cluded. The smart drive-de­tec­tion tech­nol­ogy al­lows users to mon­i­tor their trips, seam­lessly log­ging which are busi­ness, and which are pri­vate.

The road ahead

CrashDetech cur­rently has 500 lo­cal users, but Ger­rits be­lieves that the ini­tial mar­ket­ing drive will in­crease that num­ber to around 20 000 users, 10% to 15% of whom are fore­cast to be­come paid sub­scribers.

The com­pany is close to con­clud­ing a deal with a num­ber of large lo­cal en­ti­ties in the in­sur­ance industry to em­bed the tech­nol­ogy into ex­ist­ing apps. If suc­cess­ful, that could mean gain­ing up­wards of 100 000 users in one swoop, says Ger­rits.

In­te­grat­ing CrashDetech tech­nol­ogy into third-party apps is a for­mat also be­ing used for international dis­cus­sions.

“CrashDetech has gen­er­ated interest from many mar­kets and we are in early dis­cus­sions to ex­pand the app to ter­ri­to­ries like Zam­bia, Gu­atemala, the UK and Aus­tralia,” Ger­rits tells fin­week.

Jaco Ger­rits CEO of Dy­na­mus Tech­nolo­gies

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