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Two-day hackathon seeks tech solutions to distracted driving, pedestrian safety


November 2, 2018   by Jason Contant


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Developing technology-based solutions to tackle distracted driving, pedestrian safety and house-to-house communication are the goals of an upcoming hackathon hosted by Canada’s second largest insurer and a technology start-up accelerator.

Aviva Canada and OneEleven will host the Safer Neighbourhoods Hackathon on Nov. 23-25 at OneEleven’s office in Toronto. Teams consisting of about 80 insurance professionals, developers, designers, emergency responders, lawyers and others will have 48 hours to brainstorm, develop prototypes and pitch their technology solutions to a panel of judges.

Three winning teams will be selected to win a total of $7,000 in prize money and given the opportunity to leverage Aviva’s network to promote their idea in cities across Canada.

One of the challenges the teams can address is a technology-based solution to minimize injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.

Research from Aviva shows 26% of all car crashes involve phone use. This means that someone is injured in a distracted driving accident every 30 minutes in Ontario, Ryan Spinner, head of digital innovation at Aviva Canada, told Canadian Underwriter Friday. “Finding ways to reduce this would be a win-win scenario for everyone.”

Another challenge to address is pedestrian safety, by creating a solution that helps prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and increases walkability. According to the City of Toronto, 43 pedestrians were killed on city roads in 2016. Between 2005 and 2016, a total of 2,172 pedestrians were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle.

The final challenge the hackathon will address is house-to-house communication. The solution will focus on how to successfully raise citizens’ quality of life during the shift from traditional housing to connected communities. The solution will increase opportunities for resource sharing, leveraging personal knowledge and skills, and generally increasing quality of life.

“Making Canadian neighborhoods safer, bringing a sense of community and increasing home-to-home connection will not only benefit our customers by ensuring their homes and belongings are better protected, but it’ll also reduce the number of unfortunate claims that could be avoided,” Spinner said. “Aviva wants to be at the forefront of making our neighborhoods safer.”

This is Aviva’s second year running a public hackathon in Toronto with OneEleven and one of many initiatives coming from the digital innovation team in Aviva’s Digital Garage, Spinner said. Last year, Aviva’s digital division partnered with SAS and OneEleven to host a DisasterTech hackathon focusing on creating technology-based solutions to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on urban communities.