“Two things happened in 2013,” says MD Alexander Jannink, who founded Acusensus. “First, my friend James was run over and killed.” The driver was texting at the time of the collision. The second thing was that Jannink noticed road fatalities worldwide were going up. “Over the next couple of years, there was an increase, a year-on-year rise,” he says. “So, by 2016 the average fatality rate was up 16% after decades of decline.”
The big change was the rise of the smartphone – a new form of driver distraction was killing people. Jannink did something about it, creating the Heads Up solution. It can be mobile or fixed, and takes multiple scans of each vehicle along a given point.
It creates high-resolution images which – crucially – can see through the windshield to determine whether a driver is using a mobile phone or not wearing a seatbelt. “It has to stand up in court,” explains Jannink. “Our AI system looks in real time to determine whether there is an offence.”
The company partnered with the New South Wales government to roll out the world’s first mobile phone detection camera programme, and Acusensus’ solution overall impressed the Intertraffic Awards jury so much that it was given the Intertraffic Inspiration Award.
"It's hard to think of a solution which is more inspirational than this: everyone in the industry wants to reduce road deaths – Acusensus actually does something practical about it,” said the jury report. “Driving behavioural change on driver device use is one of the key issues of our times."