Senior drivers needed to test road safety technology in the North West
500 drivers over the age of 65 are needed from across the North West to
take part in a new voluntary research project designed to help elderly drivers
stay on the road safely for longer.
Space tech start up company, Satsafe, has developed a unique driver monitoring
system that can detect unusual changes in an individual's driving patterns that
could indicate, for example:- deterioration in eyesight or in reaction times.
Combining black box technology and dash cameras with big data analytics,
Satsafe's 'Telematicam' is a 'plug and play' innovation that
provides safety and security benefit to users and their families. It can also be
used to protect a driver who had been driving safely when an accident has taken
place, providing back up that they weren't speeding or driving erratically at
the time, and alert family and the emergency services that an incident has
occurred and where.
DVLA figures show that more than 4.5 million of the 39 million people holding
driving licences in the UK are aged over 70. And the number of drivers aged over
90 has topped 100,000 for the 1st time.
In an ageing population, driving is an important part of life for a growing
number of elderly drivers, providing freedom and independence, and research
shows that giving up driving can increase depression and isolation. However,
driving can also involve a certain amount of risk and often anxiety, both for
the elderly driver who might be questioning their ability to drive, and for
family who might be worried about them.
Tiny ultra sensitive sensors built in to the Telematicam form an accurate
picture of how safely a car is being driven by an individual, gathering
information on acceleration, braking and cornering forces as well harsh braking
events at junctions which can be an early indicator of failing eyesight. A
notification can be sent to family members if their relative is encountering
difficulties that are potentially putting themselves and others at risk, or in
worse cases, has been involved in an accident.
Satsafe CEO, Stuart Millward, said:- "Maintaining our independence and
mobility for as long as possible is important to so many of us, but safety can
be a concern for all involved. We are really looking forward to working with our
volunteers, to trial our technology and help us develop additional features that
will provide real benefit and peace of mind to themselves and family members.
Ultimately we want to enable people to stay mobile for as long as possible,
while it is safe for them to do so. The key here is early intervention;
notifying families when a parent's driving habits have changed, which may just
indicate that an eye test is needed, could save lives, but can also provide
reassurance if there is concern about the onset of dementia, which could impair
This is quite close to home for Stuart, who recognised when his own father was
showing early stages of dementia that the notification that Dad had gone out and
returned home safely was a key feature that was very warmly received by the
2 years ago, thanks to financial support from the European Space Agency (ESA)
business incubator, Stuart moved his business to the Science and Technology
Facilities Council's (STFC) Daresbury Laboratory at Sci-Tech Daresbury in the
Liverpool City Region, to rapidly prototype his unique technology. During this
time, with further substantial support from Innovate UK and the Liverpool City
Region Support Programme, LCR 4.0, he has taken his technology to the next level
thanks to the high performance computing facilities at the STFC Hartree Centre
(which is home to some of the most advanced computing technologies and expertise
in the UK) and the virtual prototyping capabilities of the University of
Liverpool's Virtual Engineering Centre, both of which are also located on site
at the Sci-Tech Daresbury campus.
"It's been a particularly busy, but productive couple of years, but thanks to
the financial support we've had and access to the facilities and expertise on
site here at Sci-Tech Daresbury, that a small businesses like us couldn't
otherwise have accessed anywhere else, we are excited to say that we are ready
to validate our technology with early adopters as we prepare to commercialise
with major insurers in early 2018." added Stuart Millward.
Professor Susan Smith, Head of STFC's Daresbury Laboratory, said:- "In its
recently announced Industrial Strategy White Paper, the Government reconfirmed
its commitment to harnessing the power of innovation to help meet the needs of
an ageing society, and to help our older citizens lead independent fulfilled
lives. I can't think of a more fitting example of this than what Satsafe is
doing right now, and I'm thrilled that they are doing it right here at Sci-Tech
Satsafe's move to Sci-Tech Daresbury coincided with its successful bid to become
the lead consortium partner for road safety work package in 'CityVerve'
the UK's £10 million 'Smart City' project, in Manchester,
working closely with Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester
and technology giants including Cisco, BT and Ordnance Survey. The aim of CityVerve is to demonstrate the societal, commercial and environmental benefits
of Internet of Things applications within a City, to improve its services in
everything from healthcare and law enforcement, to traffic control and air
quality, creating a smarter, safer City to enhance the quality of life for its
Motorists in the North West, who are aged 65 or over and who would like to
volunteer to trial Satsafe's telematic technology should contact Satsafe via