Six postgraduate computer science and information technology students have developed a proof-of-concept safe driving app in partnership with a Victorian government department.
As part of their software engineering project, the students from the Master of Computer Science and the Master of Information Technology explored how to encourage safer driving habits using Intelligent Speed Assist (ISA), which gives location specific, real-time advice to motorists.
The DriveVictoria app, developed for iPhone and Android, provides motorists with warnings for high risk situations including school zones and speed limit monitoring. It also features social media integration to keep drivers updated with road traffic alerts.
To reduce driver distraction, the app can block incoming calls and send an SMS to the caller stating that the person is driving and will call them back later.
The sponsor said the experience of working with RMIT students was excellent.
“The main value of this project was in showing the capability of modern phones to support ISA applications, and in having working prototypes to show managers involved in road safety initiatives,” he said.
“Another benefit for us was in the exploratory aspects of the project, the lessons learnt, which, amongst other things, showed that accurate centralised location data is critical for future ISA applications.
“The students produced excellent prototypes.
“As a requirement of the project we had them do a presentation to senior managers from across relevant government departments. The audience was captivated by the presentation!
“The lessons learnt are valuable and we are hoping to take these further.”
The students who developed the app were Jian Cheng from the Master of Computer Science, and Xuening Dong, Zixiong Yin, Yin Liang, Peng Ling, Yuxi Gui from the Master of Information Technology.
According to Cheng, the software engineering project plays an important role in helping students prepare for their future employment.
“It applies technical knowledge, communication skills and the ability to work within a team.
“The end product can be added to our portfolio as evidence of project experience, and students have the chance to get valuable insights from the industry partners.
“Our external client was very helpful throughout the project. He was a great mentor. Not only was he was willing to hear ideas from our team but he also gave us valuable advice as to how to approach technical problems and what it’s like to work in a professional environment.
“At the end of the project, I felt I learned much more than I expected.”
Dr Maria Spichkova from the School of Science coordinates the software engineering projects.
“The projects require from the students not only the application of their technical skills gained from previous years of study, but also a lot of creativity,” she said.
“In the case of the DriveVictoria project, the objectives were deliberately broadly defined to allow students to come up with their own ideas and suggestions.”
Other software engineering projects have covered a broad range of subjects and involved working with industry partners such as: the Bureau of Meteorology, Chemistry Research Group, Cisco, Commonwealth Bank, Microsoft, Music Therapy, Navy Information Management Systems (Australian Department of Defence), PTD Cambodia, Reach 4 Your Future Foundation, and RedBubble among many others.
The projects can provide oppotunties for collaboration with other disciplines such as engineering or media and communication. Students also have access to specialist RMIT facilities such as the VXLab for projects that focus on robotics and virtual/augmented reality.