Another private company has signed up to sweeten the pot for cities competing in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Smart City Challenge,” which is aimed at encouraging municipalities to improve traffic systems by using new technologies.
The original challenge, which the department issued on Dec. 7, promised a $40 million prize to the winner. Vulcan, a Seattle company with a history of tech investments, threw in another $10 million. As of Thursday, Mobileye has added in a promise to equip every municipal bus in the winning city with its Shield + systems, which delivers warnings to drivers before they collide with pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
According to the company’s website, the system works with up to four cameras to deliver visual and audio warnings to the driver. It also cuts down on the number of alerts it gives out — to avoid desensitizing the driver to false alerts, the system only warns the driver when a collision will happen soon with one of the road’s “most vulnerable users,” such as a bicyclist. The system doesn’t deliver warnings about inanimate objects.
The U.S. DOT is taking applications for the challenge until Feb. 4.