A Shintaro Akatsu School of Design student from the University of Bridgeport (UB) captured the $4,000 Grand Prize at the 2011 World Traffic Safety Symposium Competition at the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA) International Auto Show.
The World Traffic Safety Symposium is a featured event at the annual New York International Automobile Show, which was held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City from April 22 to May 1.
Junior Ben Wisoff, a junior industrial design major at UB’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD), won the highly competitive prize with his entry, Track Points, an award system that uses GPS devices to promote safe driving and reduce vehicle fatalities.
Wisoff was advised by industrial design professors Richard W. Yelle, Luke Johnson, and Jeff Mullally.
In addition, SASD students won the following prizes sponsored by Volvo, AAA Foundation, National Road Safety Foundation, and GNYADA:
2nd Prize — Bennett Minchella for Blind Snow Man, a detection system penetrating deep snow banks alerting drivers to unseen on coming traffic
4th Prize — Matt Joffe for LED & Reflector System, a highway signaling system use by emergency vehicles to warn drives of road hazards
5th Prize — Ergin Mus for Snow Removal System for Semi-trailers
This is the 13th year in a row that SASD design students have entered the GNYADA competition. Recently UB has won first prize in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011.
Wisoff’s Grand Prize-winning TrackPoints tackles the problem of driving over the posted speed limit, which contributes to over 15 percent of fatal crashes in the U.S. Specifically, TrackPoints allows drivers to earn or lose points toward gift cards, depending on their driving habits in relation to posted speed limits.
TrackPoints system would utilize GPS to track the driver’s speed and location. That information is then compared to a database of posted speed limits. Points are earned for every mile the driver travels under the speed limit.
The posted speed limit and accumulated TrackPoints are displayed in real time on the dashboard and as the driver accelerates, a glowing gauge follows the needle to highlight the driver’s speed. To make the TrackPoints concept more intuitive, the gauge glows blue while the driver is under the speed limit, but would turn red to indicate a breach of the speed limit.
The TrackPoints system also has potential applications with commercial vehicles, such as trucks and taxis.