!important works with car manufacturers, telecom companies, and government officials, improving road safety for all. Its mission is to save one million lives over the next decade, by protecting vulnerable road users around the world by using an app during daily commutes.
This week on Mobility Moments, we speak with CEO Bastien Beauchamp, to find out more about the world’s first app to predict accidents between pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and vehicles.
What is so important about !important?
Our technology can save lives where sensors on vehicles and infrastructures can’t. There are 250,000 pedestrians who die every year hit by vehicles. That excludes bicyclists, motorcyclists and injuries. From this number, 35% can be solved with existing technologies. But scenarios of vehicles blocking the view, steep turns, heavy rain or snow, darkness – a significant 65% of cases – remained unsolved until !important comes into the scene. Our technology aims at saving a million lives over the next decade.
The automotive industry is developing, with autonomous vehicles on the horizon. Safety has been the main concern for many, but you are taking a unique approach to this. How?
We are the first and unique P2V solution. Our sensors are all based on the pedestrians, not in infrastructures or on vehicles. We track pedestrians constantly. Vehicles know about people way in advance, with no surprises they may slow down and brake while knowing where people are around in all conditions. This gives us an essential holistic view of situations and allows us to solve potential accidents that couldn’t be solved any other way.
So you are using people as the solution in an autonomous world by using a mobile phone app?
We focus on people because people are the most important. We use a mobile app today as a proof of concept but our goal is to be embedded in the phones’ OS. So people don’t have to download anything at all. It has to be free and as easy as possible for the users.
Do you believe that other companies are too busy solely focusing on the autonomous vehicle and not on the surrounding environment?
We believe that everybody is doing his best to provide the highest safety possible. Each solution complements the other. There is no competition in safety, only complementary technologies. It is the overall technology stack that provides ultimate safety. So we are providing the P2V solution; Others develop V2P, V2I, V2X solutions.
How do you work with automakers and cities to improve road safety?
We are currently doing Proofs of Concepts with car manufacturers with the hope of implementation in their car series. The 8 that we have contacted have an interest so far. We are also implementing our technology in Pilot Projects in Reno, NV, USA and Ann Arbor, MI, USA. We are actively looking for more opportunities to demonstrate the potential of our technology.
Does this technology extend beyond autonomous passenger vehicles?
It works with any connected vehicle equipped with an ADAS. It can be a car, a truck, a forklift, a snow machine, a mining truck, a drone, any vehicle.
How do you intend to roll this out? City-by-city?
We hope that all players will realize that this technology doesn’t require hardware, neither infrastructures. It’s a software-only solution: The technology could be in all phones and all cars with just one software update. Therefore, it is the Easiest, Fastest, Cheapest way to solve immediately the massive problem of vulnerable road user fatalities. So we hope people, car and smartphone companies will act promptly and provide us with access to their equipment. If they don’t, we still believe that regulations could at term solve the situation. This happened to the seat belt. Invented in 1959, car manufacturers didn’t install it until the Government passed a law in 1973. We hope that players will realize their responsibility and won’t wait 14 years before to act. That represents 3.5 millions lives of pedestrians.
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