Ridy: A Life-Saving Car Safety DeviceBy - 04/30/2018
I recently lost a close friend in a car accident, which probably would not have happened if everyone stayed focused on the road. So when a colleague told me about a car safety device that keeps drivers from getting distracted or dozing off, I seized the opportunity to write about the device that can potentially save lives. Meet Ridy, a car companion that will keep your eyes on the road.
How Ridy Works
Ridy is a dashcam-like device that you can mount on your car’s dashboard, hang under the rearview mirror, or attach to your windshield. It has a power adapter that plugs directly into your car’s cigarette lighter socket. That said, any vehicle with a cigarette lighter socket works with Ridy.
Although Ridy looks like a dashcam, it functions differently. Instead of a forward-facing camera, it has an inside-facing camera that you must aim directly towards the driver’s face. The camera maps the driver’s face and monitors for behavioral telltales of distracted driving. It works day and night, thanks to built-in IR LEDs. If it thinks you’re not as focused on the road as you should be, it will give you a gentle yet stern vocal reminder.
As complicated as it sounds, Ridy is a simple device. It’s a camera loaded with algorithms programmed to analyze your face. It doesn’t connect to the internet, so your personal data is safe. It doesn’t have a smartphone app, and its only job is to remind you to keep your eyes on the road.
Ridy Detects Sleepy Drivers
One of the main things Ridy looks out for is drowsiness. Using its built-in machine vision, Ridy can tell if you’re sleepy just by analyzing your facial muscles, eye movement, blinking frequency, duration of eyes closing, and speed of reaction. It then scores you based on those factors and decides whether or not you need a reminder and what type of reminder you need. It might give you a mild reminder like “keep your eyes on the road” or something more stern accompanied by a loud beep. If it thinks you shouldn’t be driving, it might even recommend that you pull over and rest for a while.
Ridy Detects Distracted Drivers
Another thing Ridy looks out for is distracted drivers. Driving while using your smartphone, fiddling with your car’s stereo, or even talking to people in your car can reduce your alertness and lead to disaster. Ridy senses if you’re distracted by analyzing your face, specifically, your eyes. It uses the same algorithm it uses when detecting sleepy drivers. It specifically detects how often and how long you take your eyes off the road. If you take your eyes off the road for too long, it will remind you to stay focused.
Pricing, Availability, & Final Thoughts
Overall, Ridy is a pretty simple yet smart device. Everyone who drives can benefit from its features, especially those who drive for a living, those who drive tired, those who drive long distances, and parents who want to teach their teens to be responsible drivers. However, keep in mind that Ridy is a warning device. Ultimately, you’re responsible for every decision you make while driving. Also, all the information is kept local to the device which means that parents will not be alerted to poor driving habits like they would using an app like Life360.
Ridy is now fully-developed and ready for manufacturing, but the company behind it needs funding to jumpstart the manufacturing process. If you want to support their effort, you can pledge help on Ridy’s Indiegogo campaign page. If you pledge $89 or more, they’ll ship you one Ridy device post-production, most likely, by July 2018. If you pledge at least $138, you’ll receive two Ridy devices. After the campaign, Ridy will retail for $139.