Can Facebook make you a better driver?

An international team of engineers has brought the on-board diagnostic system in your car together with cloud computing and social networking. The resulting SAfeDJ app is the work of a research team coming from, literally, all over the world including: UBC, The University of Hong Kong, Nankai University, China, Uppsala University, Sweden, IBM China, and MIT.

SAfeDJ recommends music to listen to while you drive, based on your preferences as well as the current driving conditions. The  prototype uses real-time data from both the vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (e.g., RPM and throttle) and input from the driver, such as facial expression and eyelid position to assess the level of fatigue and the mood of the driver. SAfeDJ also makes an assessment of your music library based on tone, tempo, noise and energy. The app then selects music from your library that will be pleasing and also help to keep you safe. The ultimate goal of SAfeDJ is to help drivers stay vigilant on the road by using music to reduce fatigue and elevate negative moods.

SAfeDJ can incorporate real-time traffic and weather data as well as health related data from, for example, a heart rate sensor. SAfeDJ also has the capacity for real-time sharing of music selections with traveling friends in similar moods through social networks. This ingenious integration of data was a finalist at the 2014 MobiCommobile app competition.

Prof. Leung and his research team (Xiping Hu-PhD student, Shengguo Zheng-Post Doc, and Chunsheng Zhu-PhD student) have explored the combination of on-board diagnostics, social networking and cloud computing in various apps. In Social Drive, Xiping Hu (PhD student), created a way to help users change their driving to reduce fuel consumption. Stop and start driving uses a lot of energy; one way drivers can conserve fuel is by smoothing out their acceleration. Social Drive uses input from the car such as throttle and engine speed to create a trip rating. A driver’s final score is based on data such as: number of hard accelerations, ability to achieve a targeted fuel economy and ability to follow recommended servicing suggestions for the vehicle. Through the app drivers can share their trip assessments on Facebook. By leveraging the social ties among drivers Social Drive has the unique strength to enhance social interactions and improve driving behaviour.

Find out more:

SAfeDJ community: situation-aware in-car music delivery for safe driving

Social Drive: a crowdsourcing-based vehicular social networking system for green transportation

Wireless Networks and Mobile Systems Laboratory (WiNMoS), led by Prof. Victor Leung, TELUS Mobility Chair, studies wireless and mobile networking, network architectures and protocols, network management techniques and performance evaluations.