It’s 2.30 am in the early hours of a Sunday morning and Jikku Jose is hunched over his laptop amidst a sea of cables, workstations and coffee cups. The engineering student is among the 180 young developers who are part of a 36-hour non-stop event where they are trying to create solutions to make India’s roads safer.
The country’s first-ever road safety hackathon is underway in Trivandrum, Kerala, at one of the largest IT parks in the nation. The hackathon, organized by the Kerala Road Safety Authority and supported by the World Bank Group, has asked developers to create either software or hardware based programs or applications that will help improve road safety by upgrading the engineering of Indian’s roads, ensuring that traffic rules are enforced, promoting driver education, or improving emergency care for accident victims.
“We are passionate about simple and elegant solutions,” said 29-year-old Jose, who along with team member Rakesh are working towards building their start-up company. “We are fighting against time to create a real time dashboard to respond to any traffic emergency.”
Their all-night efforts have clearly paid off as the solution they came up with – called ‘Third Eye’ - won the first prize in the software category. Third Eye’s dashboard, located at the police control room, allows anyone with a mobile phone to instantly alert the nearest police station of a road accident through a simple text message. The system uses open standards protocols to virtually connect any device that complies with the API. “Our effort is to reach the entire population without adding any further technology or extra cost,” beamed Jikku.