NYU Abu Dhabi Students Win $200k for Innovative Traffic App



RoadWatch, an road safety app developed by 5 NYU Abu Dhabi students, has won a competition netting them 272 thousand US dollars.

Lexi Faunce and Anne Cruz

A team of five NYU Abu Dhabi students won Dh1 million — about $272,000 USD —  for their app RoadWatch at the World Government Summit in Dubai. The app aims to reduce accidents by rewarding users when they practice safe driving habits such as maintaining speed limits and abstaining from swerving.  

The annual event honors international governments for creating apps that significantly impact people’s lives, and the students took home the Service Award in the university category.

Team members said the app makes following roads rules into a fun game. However, the app has several other attributes that make it more than user friendly.

It also alerts them to road conditions such as speed limits, possible crashes or enforcement vehicles that need a cleared road. In addition, law enforcement can provide alerts to users like cautions to reduce speed in hazardous conditions.

NYUAD sophomore and team member Maitha Al Memari spoke to Gulf News about the logistics of the app.

“Our app is a virtual driving assistant that can be accessed on a phone or smart-watch,” Al Memari said. “The app, which is available in 15 languages, tells users where there are accidents and congestion. It also warns users if they exceed the speed limit. Our app aims to reduce the rate of road fatality.”

The app can be paired with a smartwatch to monitor the driver’s heart rate and alert the user when they become fatigued. Roadwatch will also anonymously send driving data such as road hazards and areas of heavy traffic to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior.

In an interview with GNTech, NYUAD junior and team member Quan Ho Vuong said that the collaboration between the Ministry of Interior and the Engineering Design Studio were both influential to the success of the project.

“It was an incredibly inspiring and empowering process to build our imagination into reality with our best friends, in the supportive environment of the Engineering Design Studio and in intimate collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Interior,” Vuong said.

Email Lexi Faunce and Anne Cruz at [email protected].