Car Mate MFG Co Ltd developed an application software that uses the camera of the iPhone to support safe driving and released it.
The company demonstrated the software, "DriveMate SafetyCam," in its booth at the 42nd Tokyo Motor Show 2011, which will open for the public from Dec 3 to 11, 2011, in Tokyo.
The software analyzes video taken by the iPhone's camera to monitor cars running in front. And it emits alarming sounds, for example, when the user's vehicle comes too close to a vehicle running in front and when a vehicle in front starts moving from a stop (in the cases of red light, traffic jam, etc).
When the application is in operation, symbols that indicate vehicles running in front and information about distances to those vehicles are superimposed on the video that is taken by the iPhone's camera and shown on the iPhone's display.
In addition, DriveMate SafetyCam has a function to analyze data about vehicle speed, accelerator operation, inter-vehicular distance, etc and evaluate safe driving and fuel-efficient driving in real time. The user can register the results of the evaluation for a ranking and compete with other users to improve his/her safe driving skills.
DriveMate SafetyCam can be used with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS whose operating systems are iOS4.1 or later. With the iPhone 3GS, the vehicle recognition rate of the application sometimes lowers because of the performance of the phone.
The application can be purchased at the iTunes Store or App Store for a price of ¥250 (approx US$3.2) during the Tokyo Motor Show and ¥500 after the event. Car Mate MFG also sells a case for mounting the iPhone on the dashboard of a vehicle. The case comes in two models. One has a wide-angle lens while the other does not. There are no manufacturer's suggested retail prices for the two models.
Currently, Car Mate MFG does not have a plan to release the application for Android-based smartphones. According to the company, it is possible to develop the application for Android-based smartphones if there are many requests. But it will take time to conduct operation tests because there are many kinds of Android-based smartphones, it said.