Smarter interactions, fewer accidents: How we built Safety Feed

I. The story of Safety Feed

Around five years ago when we started designing the world’s first in-car voice assistant, our primary objective was to reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers being distracted by their mobile devices. We believed that voice assistance would allow for safe and easy device interactions, keeping drivers’ hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

II. Cognitive Load, and why it matters

At any given moment on the road, a professional driver is subject to a number of factors that affect their driving performance. We measure these factors in terms of ‘cognitive load’, which we further categorise according to complexity and risk. Adjusting navigation, responding to dispatch, racing against a tight delivery schedule, or in the worst case, sending a text message — these situations all add varying degrees of pressure to an individual’s cognitive load. Some of these situations are also illegal, but unfortunately not unusual.

Reacting actively to cognitive conditions. Image © mensch-verkehr-umwelt (mvu), Institute for Applied Psychology

III. How it works: The SAFE index

Safety Feed is built around our voice adaptation of mvu’s proprietary SAFE index, a classification system for upcoming driver hazards. We had to try many different approaches to create these classifications.

Our web simulator showing a low complexity, straight, urban road
A large roundabout with high complexity / driver cognitive load
The background mobile app technology for Safety Feed
Road test with Voice Assistant (top center) and background app (on dashboard)

IV. Putting it to the test

Having received funding from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) as part of the mFUND program, we could build and begin to test Safety Feed.

V. Tomorrow’s fleets: Safer and smarter

Next up is to integrate Safety Feed into German Autolabs’ voice assistance platform for professional drivers. Our platform augments drivers from logistics and transport with voice assistance powers to make their working lives safer, smarter and easier.

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German Autolabs

German Autolabs

We build logistics voice assistance for mobile workers.