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UAE University, IBM team to design car safety device

United Arab Emirates: Thursday, May 06 - 2004 @ 13:06

United Arab Emirates University, pointing to government traffic studies, said the country has seen a steady climb in the number of auto-related fatalities in the past few years. In addition to those people injured, there is one death on UAE roads approximately every 15 hours.

“These statistics are very alarming, especially when one considers that the UAE has some of the best maintained highways in the world,” said Dr. Ali Alnoaimi, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, UAE University.

To help solve the problem, the university has signed an agreement with IBM’s Engineering & Technology Services organization to design, develop and test what the school termed a telematics “smart box,” a tool similar to the so-called black box found in aircraft, which can capture, analyze and deliver relevant data via a wireless network. The University’s College of
Information Technology is co-developing the smart box with IBM.

The device, using multiple microprocessors based on Power Architecture, plus a multitude of other sensors, can be attached to the automobile’s
carriage to, for example, monitor the vehicle’s speed, comparing it to the speed limit of the street. If the car speed is higher than the speed limit allowed by the traffic department, the box would talk to the driver and issue a verbal warning. The device can also be used by police to track gross speeding violations.

“Such a device could be very effective in reducing road accidents,” Dr. Alnoaimi said. Drivers, the government, parents, young people, pedestrians, all would benefit from this safety effort. The box, he added, currently is in the concept stage; the first one should be ready for a pilot in four or five months.

In the pilot, the university’s College of IT will team with IBM, the country’s Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT), and the local police departments within UAE. The team will define the requirements, test the box in UAE cars, and agree on what to record, what actions to take to expand the area of application, and on what languages to support since the device “talks” to the drivers.

“CERT is pleased to be engaged in this project, since it is so important for our nation and, indeed, for the entire region,” said Dr. Tayeb Kamali, CERT’s chief executive officer and managing director.

The box, which isn’t expected to be much larger than a typical PDA, leverages a number of specific software applications, including Global
Positioning System and IBM’s award-winning speech software, ViaVoice, Bluetooth enablement, and open standards communication interfaces.
IBM and the university are also investigating the possibility of enabling this box to function as a doorway to value-added Web-based services for drivers and other third parties, such as insurance companies. The device has an open architecture that makes it the ideal platform for offering future “on demand” services for drivers.

IBM is among the first companies to offer leading-edge technology and tools to its clients and enable them to deliver advanced telematics
solutions. The company has built a flexible and reliable portfolio of software, hardware, IT services, development platforms, innovative tools
and design engineering consulting and services to meet the needs of this emerging segment.

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Thursday, May 6- 2004 @ 13:06 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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