Our speed gadget can tame road carnage
The system dubbed “Speed Master” primarily monitors vehicle’s location and determine the speed limit applicable in that particular area.
Colin Mundia and Patrick Mukunga show how their Speed Master gadget works at their workshop in Nyeri County. PHOTO | IRENE MUGO
Two young men in Nyeri County have devised a speed monitoring device that they say will help cut road accidents as it cautions drivers against hazards on the highway. Colin Mundia ,35, and Patrick Mukunga,32, have designed a system dubbed “Speed Master” that will primarily monitor vehicle’s location and determine the speed limit applicable in that particular area.A breach of speed limit will see the system alert the authorities and fine the offender instantly.“There will be no escaping the authorities or failing to pay the fine since the system is using satellite data and the location of a driver at fault will easily be known,” says Mr Mundia.
Once the system determines the speed limit, it notifies the driver through a voice prompt.“Unlike the conventional speed guns currently in use, this new technology will monitor the speed of all the vehicles 24 hours a day on each and every part of the road within the country,” he says adding that the system will work on all roads unlike the speed guns that are only on specific roads.Drivers will progressively be notified of changes in applicable speed limits, when entering into urban centres, when approaching black spots and near institutions.“The gadget will enable drivers to slow down when approaching a hazard like a black spot, bump or when approaching an urban area where the speed limit is 50km/h,” Mr Mukunga adds.When caught on the wrong side of the traffic laws, the fines charged for speeding can be paid through the system at the convenience of the driver.“The system can help clear a backlog of court cases related to violation of traffic rules. There will be no interactions with the police officer or the need to go to court,” says Mr Mundia.Payments of the charges will be done through M-Pesa, Visa, MasterCard which is already been designed to fit.The amount to be charged to a driver will be determined by the traffic officer. According to Mr Mundia, the gadget if adopted by the government will easily reduce the number of accidents since most of them are caused by negligence by drivers and unclear road signage.“We intend to save the government from spending too much money on erecting bumps and speed guns that are only operational during the day whilst most accidents occur at night,” he says. The system also enables one to monitor all the roads and thus helps the driver re-route to an alternative road to avoid the snarl-up.The duo drew their motivation from the dozens of accidents that have been happening at the Salgaa black spot on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway.“We felt that these accidents could easily be avoided. The bumps erected on these roads end up killing people rather than saving them,” he says.Mr Mundia quit his job as customer service agent at Safaricom to focus on technology while Mr Mukangu is an electrical electronics graduate from Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri.“The speed governors being used today in most public service vehicles are not as effective because drivers are breaking the rules everywhere but with this system we will bring sanity back on the roads,” he notes.They test-ran the gadget at the beginning of 2016 when the idea was conceived and conceptualised.READ: App to help boda bodas keep on the right side of the lawThey have spent Sh1 million to come up with the gadget and intend to sell it at between Sh10,000 to Sh15,000. Since all data will be fed into the Speed Master, the gadget will enhance reduction in insurance premiums due to reduced accidents. “It will be easy to manage insurance on vehicles since the insurance cover status will be known and managed through the system,” he says.One of their major challenges is lack of local companies manufacturing technological items. “To create this module, I have had to wait for months for parts to arrive in Kenya after buying it online. We are importing everything,” says Mr Mundia.They also lament that the government’s reception of the innovation is discouraging. “We have approached so many people pitching this idea but they keep dismissing us with promises to call but they never do. This shows we don’t support our own,” he says. They are calling on the government to create forums where people with practical ideas can exchange and learn from one another as well as discuss ways to boost such innovations.