Wednesday, June 18, 2014

AvoiDeer app warns drivers of animal hazards with real-time alerts

Let's say you're cruising down a dark highway and there is a deer smack in the middle the road. Just standing there.

It happened to me several years ago in my little light-duty truck, which caused around $1,500 in damage to the bumper, grille and hood.

With today's technology and crowd-sourcing apps like AvoiDeer, a collision is less likely and could possibly be avoided.

The AvoiDeer app comes to us from Scandinavian developers in Bodo, Norway and Southport, England, where they sought to create a road-safety app to warn drivers of wildlife along highways in North American and Northern Europe.

One of the unique features about the AvoiDeer app is the warning of "real" sighting with a visual and audible alarm. The concept is simple, with real-time reporting of any deer or other wildlife sightings with a simple tap. Any AvoiDeer user in close proximity will receive an audible and visible alarm on their smartphone to warn the driver of potential danger ahead. The warning will remain active for 30 to 60 minutes.

The app opens to a detailed map with your location highlighted. There is button for reporting a sighting, such as a herd of deer or a single animal, and another button for accessing overall reports and your reporting stats.

Once you're on the road, it's a simple matter to tap the "Report Sighting" button to warn other AvoiDeer users. The GPS position is used together with the date and time of the sighting to warn other AvoiDeer users. A convenient zoom feature is handy when your need a closer look at the map.

According to research from UK Deer Initiatives, there are 1.2 million wildlife and vehicle collisions each, which caused up to 500 injuries and 400 deaths. On European roads, deer collisions number in the 74,000 range.

The AvoiDeer app, which grew from a British and Norwegian partnership, launched on March 1 and is now available on the iOS platform for an international audience. An Android version is coming soon.

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