Not too long ago, the term “distracted driving” probably referred to kids in the back seat fighting, causing the driving parent to shout: “Don’t make me pull this car over and come back there!”
Today, distracted driving has taken on a whole new meaning, typically involving the driver’s use of a cell phone or other electronic device to text or check social networks or navigation apps. Distracted driving can be visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) or cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).
In spite of the well known dangers of distracted driving, many motorists simply can’t help themselves. Now, thanks to Israeli startup Cellepathy (a combination of the words ‘cellular’ and ‘telepathy’), safety no longer needs to be comprised. Founded in 2011 by Dan Abramson and Sean Ir, the company uses the latest technology to reduce distractions for drivers.
Verify – Solving the ‘passenger problem’
One of Cellepathy’s products is Verify, a distracted driving risk management software that knows how to distinguish driver phones from passenger phones without the need for hardware in the vehicle. Using Verify companies can prevent costly accidents by defining the way their employees can use smartphones while in transit.
“Our technology verifies both drivers and passengers, preventing distracted driving by those behind the wheel while also allowing verified passengers to operate their phones freely in a car,” Sean Ir, Cellepathy’s co-founder and VP of Marketing tells NoCamels.
Ergo – Eliminating annoyance
“Drivers are constantly making decisions about their navigation software. When to turn it on, when to turn it off, when to mute it, and when to raise the volume,” Cellepathy’s CEO Dan Abramson, said in a statement. “Ergo automates all of that using artificial intelligence and pattern recognition.”
The app does this by recognizing the patterns of a driver’s usage. Many drivers turn off their navigation apps when they are in their own neighborhood or on their regular route home. Since they already know the way, and assuming there is no traffic to deal with, they no longer need audio directions from their navigation app.
In fact, Cellepathy found that nearly half of people who turn off their navigation app before the end of a trip (or refrain from using it entirely on some trips) do so in order to escape “the voice,” and better concentrate on their music listening. Although that voice may be a distraction, reaching out to close or open the app while driving is a bigger – and more dangerous – one. The Ergo app turns off the navigation activity in areas where the driver doesn’t need it, reducing the distraction level and removing the need to deal with it.
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“Ergo not only learns when you don’t need navigation instructions anymore, like when you are in your own neighborhood and it can be shut off, but it also stresses changes in your daily route that you need to be aware of,” Ir said. “If your normal commute is going to be delayed by an unexpected traffic accident or road work, Ergo will be sure to let you know in advance to take an alternate route, before it’s too late and you drive your normal route just out of habit or because you weren’t paying close attention to your voice navigation.”
From Wall Street to all streets
Both co-founders, Abramson and Ir, have Wall Street backgrounds, and have made a surprisingly smooth transition from finance to technology. Abramson went from using algorithms to optimize potential stock market transactions to optimizing technology for Cellepathy’s products so users could get the most out of their system without draining their mobile phone batteries.
Entirely self-funded, Cellepathy continues to grow, its 10 employees are spread out across the globe; in Israel, the US, and Europe.
Regarding Verify, Cellepathy is currently only offering it to companies. Ergo, on the other hand is sold as software as a service, an additional layer to an existing package.
In February Cellepathy won the ConnecteDriver 2016 Auto App Challenge, one of the most prestigious driver app contests in the automotive industry. In March the company announced that it had been accepted to participate in the Dreamit Health accelerator, one of the most successful accelerators in the world. Dreamit has launched over 200 startups that collectively have gone on to raise over $275 million and are worth more than $1 billion in enterprise value.
In March 2014, Celepathy’s co-founders presented their technology to the US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) at a public meeting on the development of Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices.
Photos and video: Cellepathy