Thursday, December 3, 2015

BPI, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance offers award-winning augmented reality driving safety app for new customers

BPI/MS, a joint venture of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, is now offering an award-winning augmented reality driving safety app for its new customers.

Called "My Safe Drive," the app is based on the iOnRoad app, which reportedly won the Consumer Electronic Show Innovation Award in 2012, and utilizes the smartphone's GPS, gyroscope, and camera to monitor the vehicle's position on the road and alert drivers of lane departures and potential collisions through audio and visual alerts.

Using a Samsung Galaxy S5 provided by the company that's been pre-installed with the app, we drove a Honda Mobilio RS provided by Honda Cars Global City from Taguig all the way to Nuvali in Santa Rosa, Laguna to actually test the app in real-world driving situations and it actually does all that it promises--and more.

On the phone's screen, the green solid line indicates the lane ahead of your vehicle. If it detects a vehicle in front of you, the distance between your car and the one in front is indicated in meters in front of a green background. If the distance between the two vehicles goes below 11m, the background behind the indicator turns yellow. As the distance between the two vehicles become even closer, a yellow "Careful" full-screen alert appears onscreen and an audible warning is triggered. When the distance becomes dangerous enough that a collision between the two vehicles is possible, a red "Warning" full-screen alert is displayed and another audible warning is sounded to warn the driver.

The app can reportedly run in the background if you need to access your smartphone's other features like the phone function (of course!), the navigation system, and the music player. It can also serve as a blackbox of sorts as you can use your phone's camera to take photos or videos of the road ahead as you drive; perfect for capturing the shenanigans of jerks who share the road with you. We asked if it would be possible for the app to record as a video the last two minutes captured by the camera in case an accident or collision occurs and while it's not possible in the current version, the developers are supposedly working on such a feature for a future update.

At the end of a trip, the app assesses and scores how safe and fuel-efficient you are as a driver, with one point being given to you every second the vehicle is on the move and as much as 100 points being deducted every time the red "Warning" alert lights up.

For the app to work on your smartphone, the minimum requirements according to its developers are that it should run on either iOS 7 or Android 2.2 (Froyo), have a CPU speed of at least one GHz, a VGA video-capable camera, and an 800x480 screen resolution. As expected though, the app supposedly works best with the following gadgets:

  • iPhone 6S Plus;
  • iPhone 6S;
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 5;
  • Samsung Galaxy S6; and 
  • LG G4
As for the app's availability, BPI/MS is supposedly only making it available to new customers though it is also studying the possibility of offering it to current clients. You can also buy the app from the Google Play Store at just over P220.

"A car is one of the most significant investments a family can make, thus safe driving by using My Safe Drive helps protect the investment," said BPI/MS Insurance President Kenichi Tanabe in a statement. "The need for better road safety is imperative and the launch of the app empowers Filipinos to make their own contribution to promote safer driving."

Photos taken with Fujifilm FinePix XP80

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