Researchers at the University of Missouri are putting the finishing touches on a phone app that is geared towards saving lives on and off the farm. The roll over application was initially developed for smart phones to monitor the stability of a vehicle and provide warning messages to the operator. The idea is for the phone to detect an accident and send an email or make a phone call for help. “In the email message it provides the GPS coordinates and a link to Google Maps to where the accident happened,” University of Missouri Assistant Professor at the Agriculture Systems Management Department Bulent Koc says, “depending on the GPS accuracy of the phone being used, it can be as close as three meters to the accident.”
The app was developed during a class Koc is teaching on Agriculture Machinery where they cover different topics on tractors. Students were asked to design small scale tractors to put against one another in a pulling contest. “In those tractors I realized the designs are not always stable,” Koc said, “the app we developed this app to demonstrate their designing was stable.” He then made a presentation at the ASAB conference and got positive results which gave him the initiative to move forward and try it out on real tractors.
According to a report published by the National Safety Council in its “Accident Facts” 1989 edition, machinery overturns have the highest fatality rate. This fact was contained in a 1988 report for 10 states. These ten states contained one third of the tractors located in the United States. Tractor accidents on farms cause the highest number of fatalities with tractor overturns, accounting for 44 percent of all tractor fatalities.
This has been in the works since last year and they hope to have the last leg of the research done by the end of May. The University will be able to release the product once their research is complete and find a company to license it and make it available to the public. Koc says there will be two versions of the product available; one that will utilize sensors already in smartphones, the other will allow farmers to use external sensors mounted on the tractor and communicate with the phone via Bluetooth.
“It can be used on several other motorized vehicles,” said Koc,”including passenger vehicles, SUV’s, military vehicles and construction vehicles.”
KMZU’s Mandy Young had a chance to speak with University of Missouri Assistant Professor at the Agriculture Systems Management Department Bulent Koc click below.