A smartphone app developed by a Chilean student could save lives by detecting potentially fatal car accidents and instantly notifying friends, family and even emergency services.
Driving a car, especially at night, always carries risk. But this new smartphone app could reassure drivers and save lives by detecting potentially fatal accidents. Anibal Madrid developed the app, called SoSmart, after his own experiences driving alone at night. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF THE "SOSMART" APP, ANIBAL MADRID, SAYING: "If you are driving late at night or driving on the highway and you happen to have an accident, nobody will know about it for maybe ten, 15 or 20 minutes. And we all know very well that the time between when the accident occurs and when emergency services are notified is fundamental and could make the difference between life or death." Users of the app can choose which of their phone contacts is notified - and the notification contains the exact location of the accident. Those contacts can then call emergency services with all this information, speeding up response time. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF THE "SOSMART" APP, ANIBAL MADRID, SAYING: "The app uses the internal sensors in your phone and without the user doing anything, it can detect if you were in a bad traffic accident; a traffic accident that could kill you." The University of Chile engineering student hopes eventually to connect app users directly to emergency services. He says this could potentially save thousands of lives. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF THE "SOSMART" APP, ANIBAL MADRID, SAYING: "There are close to 1.3 million deaths from traffic accidents every year worldwide. And some statistics coming out of the United States showed that if you could reduce the time-frame from the time of the accident to the time emergency services are contacted, it is estimated that 130,000 lives could be saved per year." But what if a user drops the phone? Would their loved ones be contacted unnecessarily? SOUNDBITE (Spanish) CREATOR OF THE "SOSMART" APP, ANIBAL MADRID, SAYING: "When you drop your phone it accelerates at about 3 or 4 Gs, which is four times the acceleration of gravity. In car accidents, accelerations can go as high as 200 times the force of gravity. That's why a simple drop of the phone won't activate the app's algorithm." SoSmart is available for free in Apple and Google app stores, and Madrid hopes it will make a major contribution to reducing road death numbers.