2010 winners > 15 to 16 years > Driver Minder
Driver Minder combines safety features with information provided verbally to the driver about the speed limit zone they’re in. It also checks their licence, warrant and vehicle registration against a database on a website that Reuben has created. To start the car’s engine the driver must first swipe their licence to allow the system to check their credentials. The system also uses GPS to check the driver’s position, speed and direction.
The biggest inspiration for the Driver Minder has been to build a reliable, versatile car safety device which could make a difference in road safety while being useful to the driver. I got the idea a couple of years ago while travelling with my family. I noticed that as we travelled there was often confusion about what the speed limit was. While reading the newspaper and doing some research into New Zealand Transport Authority statistics, I discovered that a huge proportion of fatal crashes were caused by unlicensed or disqualified drivers, this gave me the idea of somehow verifying drivers’ licences. I also discovered the large numbers of vehicle issues that contributed to crashes, and decided to include vehicle registration and warrant of fitness verification.
The best part of developing this project was seeing all the technologies working together to make a functional, powerful and useful device! Probably the hardest part was time and project management. The project was huge, and everything I was using was new to me, so there was a lot of time involved. I also needed to make some tough decisions on whether to custom design certain modules of the project which consumed hours of time, but definitiely allowed me to learn a lot.