[App Fridays] RideSafe aims to improve travel safety standards for both public and private transport
Image credit: ShutterStockTravelling alone late at night can be a terrifying experience for anyone, more so for friends and family at home. In most cases, both parties keep in constant touch throughout the trip through phone calls or messages to ensure loved ones reach their destination safely.
While most taxi aggregator services do provide tracking services, they require you to constantly track the user. This could be a tiring experience for many. RideSafe aims to solve this problem with a different approach.
What is it?
RideSafe is a mobile app that aims to make a user’s daily commute safer. It detects deviation from the intended travel route in real-time. Unlike other tracking services which require manual intervention throughout, RideSafe asks users to enter their destination. It alerts users and their chosen emergency contacts in case of potential threats.
This gives peace of mind to the person tracking the user as they’re notified only in case of emergencies and do not need to track every moment of the ride. While the primary use-case of the app is safety, it can also be used to exchange locations while meeting people, and keeping a tab of one’s own trips.
How it works
-Users enter their destination while taking a cab or auto or even while travelling in their own vehicle.
-For every trip, users can select a few contacts who will receive an SMS, with a ‘trip view’ link. The recipient doesn’t need to have the app installed to view the link. When the user reaches his destination, a second SMS will notify them of the same.
-If the driver deviates from the intended route, the app alerts the user, their chosen friends and family members and RideSafe’s support team.
RideSafe also protects the privacy of users as each trip is a new link. It stops tracking the user automatically after the user arrives at their destination. Also, apart from current location, the app also provides information on the user’s path, the speed at which they were travelling, time stamps and accuracy of their tracked location.
Your location is communicated to our secure servers over encrypted transport, and never shared with anyone, and used to ensure that you reach home safe, says Nishith.
Team behind it
The app was developed by Nishith Rastogi and Geet Garg, who are BITS Pilani and IIT Kharagpur graduates, respectively, and also founders of PinChat, a location based-messaging app. They were previously working as machine learning engineers at Amazon.
RideSafe came out of a personal need when then they realised it was a common problem many people face. Nishith says that once his sister was returning from the airport late at night.For the entire duration, he kept checking on her by calling every 10 minutes and requesting her to send her location through WhatsApp. He was unable to find a suitable app in the market to assist him with this problem. So,it made him think of a more elegant solution. Along with Geet, he invented the 'Realtime Route Deviation Detection' engine, which forms the basis of RideSafe.
We take various inputs like your location, speed, direction of travel, several other environmental factors and processes them in real-time on our cloud servers, running our custom-built ‘RealTime Route deviation detection’ engine. It intelligently determines if you are on a probable route to your destination or not. says Nishith.
The engine implements active learning models-it improves everyday using existing ride data. Several edge cases are covered to keep the false positives as low as possible. The team also confirmed that the app is location agnostic, so could work anywhere in the world. But right now, they’ve limited it to India as they cannot afford the SMS cost involved.
They’ve so far tracked about 1000 trips at an average of 14.4km per trip. The app is free to download and use, and the team is exploring different ways they could monetise it in the future.
What we liked?
The app has a simple and clean UI and UX. The concept and idea behind the app has been executed well. For us, the fact that the app could be used while using any mode of transport-private or public- is a big USP.
We tried out the app and found that it worked as stated. It was interesting to track our friends and our own location through the trip link URLs. We could note how fast they were travelling at a particular point in time. You can check out the metrics of an actual trip here.
What could be improved?
The app does not store a user’s history.Unless the user has shared the link URL of their trip with someone during the trip, they cannot retrieve it easily after the trip is over.Another much-needed feature could be to have an in-app chat window open between the emergency contacts to correspond in case of emergencies and to avoid any confusions.
This app aims to solve a real persistent problem of women safety and safety for everyone in a hassle-free way. Its hows potential in being a viable solution. Adding a few more features to enable better communication among users via in-app messaging or notifications could enhance its appeal even further.