ShopInsuranceCanada Interviews RoadBudee Creators About Stopping Distracted Driving
RoadBudee was created and developed by Patrick Dubois. His reasons were not purely for money as he was once involved in a distracted driving incident where his then pregnant girlfriend was in a collision with a driver who was texting.
While his girlfriend was unharmed, the incident left an impression and Dubois decided to use technology to combat distracted driving.
The result is RoadBudee, a device and application that integrate themselves into a vehicle in-car system. Building on the concept of a connected vehicle, RoadBudee locks down a device. However, David Bambuck, Chief Information Officer for the company, says the device is meant to help drivers, not hinder them:
"RoadBudee is hardware and software. A device that is installed in a car, but it's also a technology that is a mobile application. So, it is not something to punish the person that has it, but was designed as a device to be interactive and to be dynamic. RoadBudee is your friend, like a dog, your best friend. It will be there when you need it most."
Because the software of RoadBudee integrates itself into an existing in-car system, it can take control of the smartphone and is connected to the ignition. However, this does mean a technician is required to install the device and system:
"It's something authorized dealers will install in the car. It's a product that is turnkey. You will be able to go in a garage and they will install it for you. That's because it is cutting edge technology and it connects into the computer of the car. We don't want users playing in the complex systems of their vehicles.
We are in development to have authorized technicians across Canada within the next month. You will be able to take an appointment and get RoadBudee installed."
Most distracted drivers cannot resist the urge to reach for their device. RoadBudee has a solution for this, if the smartphone is disconnected, the vehicle will stop automatically. Bambuck explains that once the device is connected, users will get virtually no functionality:
"When you go in your car, you will connect your phone to RoadBudee. When you plug in the phone, you can start the car. Once you start the car, the phone is activated, but the application takes the lead. Once the car is in motion, the application is set and you can just receive calls and use GPS.
There's something really cool about the GPS. We are building an online community, so all RoadBudees will sense each other and across the map will be all the other RoadBudees in the area. This is in development, but growing. Every day we have people joining the community. Right now, we have more than 1,200 people and it will continue to grow."
RoadBudee debuted in Quebec, but there are already plans underway to expand to other markets:
"We started in Quebec," Bambuck adds. "But we will be everywhere. In Ontario, across Canada, in New York. Everywhere… We want to be present in the United States, and we want to go into South America, where there are a lot of cars. When you see a lot of cars, there a lot of accidents and RoadBudee can bring car safety to people."
It is arguable that drivers will only be persuaded to avoid distraction if they are punished more severely by insurers and the law, or they receive discounts on their premiums. Bambuck says the company is targeting insurers and believes RoadBudee can help providers reduce risk and can help customers receive discounts:
"Of course. We have received some interesting calls, but tickets are revenue for government. Either they help companies push technology that will save lives, or people can keep dying and have accidents. It is both ways right now, but we are pushing for this technology.
Insurance companies are our first or second target because people say they drive, for example, 10,000 km per year. In fact, a lot of people lie to their insurance companies. With our device, we have more than 15 features. One of them will be to know the total distance a motorist drives. So, when you declare your insurance details, the insurer can see the proof from RoadBudee.
When you install the RoadBudee, you could get 15% off auto insurance. This is what we want to do for consumers."
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