This biometric rear-view mirror allows you to start a car, casts a safety net
While cab aggregators have provided increased mobility to people, it comes with safety concerns, especially for women. Eyedentify Proactive Safety has stepped into that gap.
Name of Founder (s): Dhushyanth Dachiraju, Krishna Karthik Jasti, Anirudh Injeti, Vinita Penmatsa, and Rajashree Jasti
Investors Details & Amount raised: NA
Step 1: Book a cab
Step 2: Check if the driver matches the driver profile on app
Step 3: Send location-tracking alert to your family or friends
Step 4: Push the panic button in case of an emergency
Step 5: Stay alert, in any case.
These are only a few steps a passenger, especially a female, has to take every time they take a cab. While cabs have solved the problem of mobility to a great extent, it has become another platform for harassers and criminals to target women.
Many companies have come out with a variety of solutions to solve the problem, but passengers' abuse by drivers has shown no signs of receding. The problem of safety remains under-resolved, if not completely unresolved.
When the existing solutions failed to inspire confidence into the founders of tech startup Eyedentify Systems, the five-member team got together to provide one solution to the multi-faceted problem.
"The market is full of ad hoc solutions, and we decided if we have to make a product it has to replace all these ad hoc solutions. Keeping that in mind, we decided to create a product that can take care of any kind of safety concern in a car and not just passenger safety," says Eyedentify Systems, cofounder and CTO, Dhushyanth Dachiraju.
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A complete solution
The idea was prompted by the founders' family members feeling unsafe while travelling in a cab, especially at night.
"There is no way of ensuring safety if a woman is travelling alone at night. Location-tracking does not really help. You cannot be sure if the driver is drunk or not. The panic button is also not every effective, especially in the case of people who are not very technology-savvy. So many times someone else books a cab. There also have been many incidents where cab drivers also get wrongly accused by an irate passenger. There again is no way to validate such complaints," says Dachiraju.
Since four of five founders come from a technical background, the ideation centred on an IoT (Internet of Things) solution. "Essentially, it was all about adding a bunch of sensors and getting real-time information with cloud and performing analysis based on that data," explains Dachiraju.
The hardware is integrated inside the vehicle and monitors the behaviour of vehicle's occupants through various sensors, records feed and finally, sends alerts to seek external interference in case of exigencies.
Integrated into a vehicle's OBD2 (on-board diagnostics), the product has cameras to keep an eye on the driver as well as passengers, algorithms-based microphones to differentiate between regular conversation and high-pitched noises like screaming in which case an alert gets triggered.
Once an alert gets triggered, the system proactively transmits the video feed of the vehicle and a two-way communication is instantly established with a monitoring centre. In case a mobile network is lost, the system hooks on to other identifiable solutions in the area using long range radio frequencies. The in-built battery keeps the system running for 30 minutes after the car is turned off. The system also detects any attempts to tamper it and alerts the monitoring center.
The system comes with six panic buttons which are distributed inside the vehicle to enable any occupant to reach the button at a hand's stretch. To stop any unregistered driver to take the wheels, the system asks for biometric validation before allowing for the engine to start. The system also sends out an alert to a monitoring centre in case of an accident.
The product is customisable and can be used for monitoring fleet services as well. The company, accordingly, is targeting cabs, trucks, and public buses as its potential market.
"We aim to have at least 3000 deployments by the end of FY 2018-19 and hope this will have a snowball effect in order to ensure commuter safety," hopes Dachiraju.
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Weak link in the chain
Currently running pilots, the startup is getting ready to launch in a couple of months. However, a lack of human intervention at the end of the chain could very well topple the solution. Well aware of it, the founders are currently in talks with a tie-up with a leading automotive company. "We are in talks with a couple of state governments to integrate this with police authorities. However, we will have to depend more on independent programmes as the government agencies are not streamlined as of yet," clarifies Dachiraju.
The initial plan is to tie-up with corporates, schools, fleet operators and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
"The problem with cab aggregators is that these companies do not own their fleet so we are holding talks with OEMs so that these companies can integrate the systems. This is part of our top-down approach-from approaching government authorities to OEMs-to include these systems," adds Dachiraju.
With the ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) mandating all public transport vehicles over six-seat capacity to install location-tracking services, Dachiraju believes that the market is quickly opening up and Eyedentify Systems is in the front seat.
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