Photo of Lawrence Murata


Lawrence Murata

He wants to reduce traffic accident deaths with his app that analyzes driving and traffic conditions to alert the driver if it detects risks

Year Honored

Newton Transportation Technologies

Latin America

Hails From

On the World Health Organization list of the top 10 causes of death, there is one cause whose origin is not a disease: traffic accidents. According to this agency, 1.4 million people around the world lost their lives for this reason in 2016. Given this fact, Lawrence Murata wondered what he could do to help reduce this number.

His idea was a mobile application that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze the data captured by the smartphone's sensors and other contextual variables (weather, visibility, etcetera) to identify the moments with the highest accident risk and alert the driver to try to avoid driving. This initiative led to him to be chosen as one the winners of the Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018 from MIT Technology Review in Spanish.

"The application runs in the background while the user drives. It collects data from the accelerometers, the position on the map, the weather and the time of the day, among other things", Murata explains. This is how you find out, for example, if the driver is driving the vehicle aggressively or different from usual, or if the speed limits are being exceeded according to the traffic circumstances. In all these situations, the application plays an audible alert with driving tips for safer driving.

The analysis of external information also allows the designation of routes between two points that take into consideration their safety indexes, not only the time it would take to travel. This way, the driver has more options at their disposal. "A one-minute slower route could be safer, and that commitment is worth it," the young Brazilian says.

"There is probably not a single solution capable of reducing accidents down to zero, so it is necessary that all the people involved collaborate to their maximum," says Murata, who sees the future dominated by autonomous vehicles that share information between them. Therefore, the more people who use his application, which is currently in beta phase and will be launched next year, the more intelligence it will be able to share to all the users. Its creator details: "If your phone 'sees' something useful for other drivers, it will take advantage of it."

The researcher at UNAM (Mexico) and associate professor at MIT (USA) Carlos Gershenson-García, jury member of Innovators Under 35 Latin America 2018, believes that the Murata project "is promising, especially if it achieves a broad user base."