AvoiDeer is a roadsafety app that launched in Scandinavia March 1st, and now targets users in moose/deer populated areas in the US, Canada, UK and Germany. The app aims to reduce the number of deer/vehicle accidents by providing warnings to drivers about roadside wildlife ahead. Warnings are made by alerts on the user’s smartphone.
The app idea came to Paal Wille Johnsen while driving his son home from soccer practice. It was dark and rainy, and a meeting car flashed the headlights. - I still didn’t know what he warned about, but slowed down. I was blinded, and started thinking about other ways of warning about danger ahead. After a minute or so, he saw a big moose standing by the road.
Mr. Johnsen started doing some research on wildlife-vehicle accidents, and found that it is a global problem. Norway and Canada has its moose, while the US and Central European countries has deer collision problems. Every year, moose and deer cause hundreds and thousands car of accidents along North American and Northern European roads. The majority of these animals are killed or injured, and too many people lose their lives.
British and Norwegian cooperation
In Britain alone there are about 70,000 collisions a year, causing up to 700 injuries and 15 deaths. The cost for the British society is £47,000,000 annualy and injured animals suffers. US numbers are also very high, approximately 1.2 million collisions each year are caused by the presence of deer.
AvoiDeer was first launched as a crowdfunding project, but the funding was slow. An experienced British app developer contacted Johnsen, and they started cooperating to build the app. - I am really happy about our cooperation, I can provide useful information about moose behaviour, and my collegue in Britain has the tech- and deer-knowledge, Paal Wille says.
How does AvoiDeer work?
How can this app warn drivers about danger ahead? - Well, if you see roadside wildlife that may pose a threat to traffic, you report this by two quick clicks on your smartphone. This will immediately be uploaded to our server, and pushed out to AvoiDeer users in the vicinity of the report, using GPS localization. The warning is both audible and visible, Johnsen states. But using a phone while driving isn’t really improving road safety? - True, that’s why we urge drivers to let the passenger do the report, or pull over to a safe roadside spot when reporting. That report could save both human and animal lives. If drivers are alone in the vehicle and can’t pull over, then don’t do it. Even if you don’t make reports, you will receive alerts. AvoiDeer even warns you if your phone is in Sleep-mode, he says.
The idea about using people to generate information about traffic, traffic jams, and road construction is well known, and also utilized by other successful apps. - Are you inspired by the success made by other apps, and have an economic incentive in this? He laughs; - I think we are a bit late to get on the money train. Of course we hope to make some money to make up for the time spent, but if we were in it for the big cash, we would put ads in AvoiDeer, or launch a game of some sort. AvoiDeer is ad-free, but if you like it you can subscribe to it after a free trial period, Paal Wille Johnsen finishes.
AvoiDeer is available in App Store, and the Android version will be available early summer.