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NEWTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2004-- Drive Square, a company using simulation technology to develop innovative driver training products, has received a $100K National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Phase One Small Business Innovative Research award to improve road safety. Drive Square's virtual reality trainers enable drivers to experience life-like driving conditions in the safety and comfort of their parked vehicles. These practice sessions enable individuals to improve their driving skills and become better drivers in real life. Drive Square is working in collaboration with the Human Performance Lab (HPL) of University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Drive Square utilizes simulation and techniques adapted from commercial and flight training simulators while using the driver's actual vehicle. Ultimately, the technology is being developed for the consumer novice driver training market. Additionally, its benefits can also be applied to healthcare applications as an aid for occupational therapists who train & screen older, and disabled drivers. Other potential applications include commercial and military driver training.
"Drive Square intends to employ this simulator in a program of intervention that combines first-hand (simulated) exposure to risky situations, providing immediate feedback. This approach can assist younger parents, instructors and teens themselves to assess how well they are driving relative to other teens in their gender and age group. More importantly, it can teach novice drivers safely to recognize risks on the simulator which then helps to reduce the crash rate when they first get behind the wheel, a rate which is some ten times higher than it is among more experienced drivers." said Don Fisher, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
"This is the first of several Drive Square training programs aimed at novice drivers which Drive Square is developing to improve overall road safety, lower auto related death, injury, and property damage rates," said Konstantin Sizov, President of Drive Square. "The enactment of tougher laws concerning drinking and driving, the introduction of Graduated Licensing programs and better record-keeping by Motor Vehicle agencies have contributed to decreases in the death and injury rate. Insufficient cognitive and perceptual skills that are important for safe driving continue to block overall improvements in safety. Experts have estimated that anywhere between 75% and 80% of the crashes among novice drivers are due to the lack of cognitive skills and abilities that our product can help remedy."
About the University of Massachusetts Human Performance Laboratory
The University of Massachusetts Human Performance Laboratory contains an advanced driving simulator and associated state-of-the-art eye tracking equipment that have been used to study the behavior of younger and older drivers, the effect of in-vehicle technologies on driver performance (e.g., collision warning systems and cellular phones), and the effect of different signs, signals and pavement markings on drivers' behavior. The entire northbound and southbound tunnel sections of the Big Dig have been modeled (see www.ecs.umass.edu/hpl for a simulation of a drive through the Central/Artery Tunnel), as well as the complete arrival and departure ramps at Logan International Airport. Research has been funded by the Massachusetts Highway Department, the Massachusetts Port Authority, the Federal Highway Administration, the New England University Transportation Center, the National Institute of Aging and the National Science Foundation, among others. For further information, please contact: Dr. Donald. L. Fisher, Director, Human Performance Laboratory, phone: (413) 545-1657.
About Drive Square LLC
Drive Square, LLC is an emerging company focused on the development, marketing and sale of patent pending driver training products and services, utilizing techniques adapted from commercial and flight training simulators. The company believes that the application of its proprietary technology to consumer, commercial, military and other applications will substantially improve drivers' skills and reduce accidents, providing significant economic and social benefits. The company's technology allows drivers to be safely trained, under simulated conditions, using their actual vehicles in consistent, fully automated sessions. For more information on Drive Square, please visit www.drivesquare.com or call:(617) 762-4013 (x112).
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