Tech innovations can help solve a variety of problems, from the most practical to the most frivolous ones. But few innovations are more important than the ones that aim that save lives. That’s what the !important app is trying to do.
The app, which is getting its start here in San Francisco, aims to save one million lives in the next decade. And if you have taken a walk around San Francisco recently, there’s a chance you’ve seen the work of the company behind the app.
The state of affairs
!important is a solution aimed at reducing traffic deaths, which are still a major problem around the world. In the US alone traffic accidents kill around 40.000 people a year, and a 2017 report by the National Safety Council stated that your chances of dying from a car crash in the US are 1 in 103.
Human error continues to be the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents. You may think we already have a solution to that problem in the form of self-driven cars, and that’s partially true. However, self-driven cars still have their flaws, and while their implementation is making drivers safer, what about pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists?
Self-driven cars use cameras and a variety of sensors to try and determine if there is a pedestrian in their path. But everything from poor-vision conditions to coding errors can lead to a fatal flaw in these systems. That’s how the few accidents involving self-driven cars came to be. It’s in order to fix that detection problem that !important was created.
What the app can do
The idea behind !important is as simple as it is effective. Why rely on a variety of sensors, when pedestrians already have a way to let automated cars know their location? By installing the app, it’ll be able to read and broadcast your GPS data to nearby vehicles, helping them keep track of your location with pinpoint accuracy.
That, in turn, can prevent accidents and save lives. !important Safety Technologies, the company behind the app, says that they hope to prevent one million deaths in the next decade and that one day, what they call Vision Zero may become a reality. Vision Zero is the idea of one day living in a world with zero traffic-related deaths. Which as technology evolves, may indeed become a reality.
Their work so far
!important launched on both the App Store and the Play Store back in June as a beta. Today you can get the app yourself in any available device, and be part of the first wave of San Francisco users helping make the world safer.
The company has also launched an awareness campaign to help people pay attention to traffic-related deaths in general. You may have seen it if you walked around the city lately — white bicycles and shoes left scattered around the city. Each marker is placed on a spot where a pedestrian or cyclist has died due to a traffic accident. Hopefully, deaths such as these will be a thing of the past sooner, rather than later.
To learn more about the app, visit Important.com.