Brexit Fallout

Behind the scenes we’re making great progress, but we got caught up in the  Brexit fiasco. How?!? Because the US-based software firm behind our planned launch of an app called “Drivemode” has suspended EU operations due to legal copyright uncertainty until the UK situation resolves. So frustrating, but at least they pulled it just -before- our planned Sept., 2019 launch -rather than pulling it just after!

Drivemode is a smartphone driver safety app which handles incoming and outgoing calls, texts and social messages – using voice control and extra-large icons. See the promo video:

Drivemode is the best product globally at this and an ideal app to begin to change phones from a driving liability to a potential benefit via Alice. Of course, it is still available is the U.S. So, over the next month we will either go with a US launch or get some news on getting the EU side back on track. Stay tuned……

Kathy McMahon: A Life Cut Short


Early in 2018, Kathy McMahon wrote a seminal blog post here on rta0.  

Just months later she passed away unexpectedly in May while visiting her daughter in Geneva. A great loss to family, friends and myself as her partner of twenty years.

Back in 1996 a tragic road accident took the life of Kathy’s son Justin. Her own injuries were partially disabling and the lasting effects had cut short her life at the age of just sixty three years.

In the months following her demise I was unable to progress the rta0 initiative, but I’m pleased to say the rta0 project will launch in Summer 2019.  Before Kathy’s untimely death I had lobbied key players; met with and briefed the Irish Road Safety Authority; and made multinational contacts. I found a welcoming response to the rta0 concept.

It’s time to take this public and gather the resources to get it done.  I will launch a phased roll out plan which delivers quick benefits and then builds towards the final product.

Road safety professionals and people whose lives have been touched by road fatality or serious injury are vital constituencies at this stage. We know how important it is to prevent tragic outcomes which end lives and destroy potential.

Last year, an industry insider told me the rta0 project was perfectly timed.  Fate engineered a year delay. You can’t argue with celestial timing. Perhaps now is perfect after all.

It’s time. This technology already in our hands can be harnessed to save many lives and prevent countless disabling injuries. I hope you will join us on Facebook or Twitter; advocate for this mission; spread the word and help make it all happen.

Life and Death in a Rear View Mirror 

by Kathy McMahon, Team Zero Advocate

July 1995, DublinI came back to consciousness still inside the car, with harsh fumes permeating the air around me. It took a few moments for me to get my bearings.

Then I remembered what I had been doing moments before this – driving on the Belgard Road with my two wonderful sons in the car.  My last memory was seeing in the rear view mirror a car from behind come towards me at speed… READ ON:  >>

Life and Death in a Rear View Mirror

Let’s Not Meet by Accident

by Fintan Dunne, rta0 Founder

Still no flying cars in the air.

And when I say cars, I don’t mean flimsy, propeller-driven, flying mosquitoes for two. I mean something like  a nice Buick, with wings.  Some things are clearly more tricky to do than the hype suggests.

Driver-less cars are another case in point. Many critics have already kicked big holes in Google’s ‘driver-less’ ambitions:

“Intricate preparations [must be] made beforehand, with the cars exact route, including driveways, extensively mapped. Data from multiple passes by a special sensor vehicle must later be pored over, meter by meter, by both computers and humans. Its vastly more effort than what’s needed for Google Maps.”

Driver-less cars are an idea best suited to wealthy, developed countries, and soonest achieved in data-rich, urban and suburban technology ‘mesh’ areas. These landscape solutions will take decades to fully roll out globally.

But this isn’t about dissing Google. Their work in this field is vital. This is about the long delay until such technology arrives; and about the “60-40” problem.

When all cars are driver-less, they can be guided like a robot army. But at some point, a 60-40 mix of human and driver-less cars will be on the same freeway and local roads. How’s that going to work out? During a rush hour snow storm?

That problem is vastly simpler if the human-driven cars have smartphones which can “talk” to driver-less cars and mesh with urban traffic systems.

Right now, the motor industry sees the smartphone mostly as an extension of their in-car displays. But smart phones can, and will, do much more.

Driver augmentation via smartphones will improve road safety far faster than robot cars. Smartphone AI also provides the optimum bridge to deploy today‘s technologies, and integrate with tomorrow‘s solutions.

T O D A Y ‘ S   S T A T E   O F   T H E   A R T

Insurers are already offering premium reductions to drivers monitored by smartphone or other GPS positioning devices. They hope to then influence the driver’s behavior by hiking or reducing their auto insurance premium.

For example, in the U.S., Progressive Insurance offers a customer-fitted GPS device which plugs into a vehicle diagnostic port. The device can record the time of day journeys take place, to enable fine-tuning of individual driving risk profile.

In a similar fashion, some EU insurers offer discount to drivers who carry a cellphone in their car. Other insurers rely on trackers used in commercial fleet driver monitoring.

But these industry offerings have had poor uptake by consumers -other than young drivers.  For most private motorists, GPS units are a significant install cost over the course of perhaps a one year policy term; and the smartphone option offers only modest premium reductions to offset the disadvantage of being “watched”.

State of Tech :  We’re on the threshold of driving tech in vehicles. We need to max what can be done and raise uptake rates.

Your phone. OUR APP. Free CRASH prevention.

G A M E   C H A N G E R

rta0 accelerates the use of motor safety technology by a game-changing dynamic which offers high returns to all players : the insurers, individuals and public administration.

Consumers haven’t taken to tracking technology; and to be fair, who can blame them? The public need an overwhelming reason to submit to such management of their driving.

Alice changes that. Our design and proprietary elements unlock consumer resistance and create an unstoppable momentum towards widespread adoption of driver augmentation.

Operationally, we provide collision prevention and dynamic insurance risk discovery; married to AI-based, advanced behavior management for drivers.

That’s quite a mouthful. But, watch an eight-year-old or eighty-year-old, swipe their way through an iPhone photo album. Underneath there’s a world of good design -now instinctive at the fingertip. That’s been our goal.

We interact with drivers in a new way – via the kind of human factors engineering which guided the conception of the iPhone; with  a design and methodology rooted in a human-centered focus.

Society has many old problems, with matching old solutions. The iPhone showed us that human factors engineering makes design leaps leveraging technology to supersede old solutions with dramatically improved outcomes.


K E E P   I T  H U M A N

For all of Silicon Valley’s innovation reputation, the reality is a lot of ‘me-too’ and linear thinking. Technology’s bright allure focused us on driver-less destinations -when we also needed pathways to that destination.

Question: What is the most important nut in a car?
Answer: The nut behind the wheel. 😉

The industry takes the elimination of the driver as a given. In the long term, that’s right. But augmenting the functioning of existing drivers will in the short-term outperform driver-less cars when it comes to saving most lives.

It was premature to design out the smartest piece of technology in any car today: the human! We keep the driver. We leverage the driver.

The driver is our Star.

B U I L D I N G   T E C H   B R I D G E S

We need a seamless bridge from existing to future systems. We need rapid systems engineering with a bias to immediate practicality.

Asking individual insurance companies to play that role is a big ask. They are insurers – not technologists. The socially desirable outcome is beyond the capacity of a single insurer. And beyond its shareholder mandate, to be frank.

The State has a public interest here. The State can and should act to bring about a well-regulated technology infrastructure which allows road safety authorities, technologists and insurers to manage risk optimally.

Such an infrastructure can develop alongside of the traditional predictive risk insurance market. And can mesh with emerging systems of the future.

The game change is from mere actuarial prediction of risk – to live management of actual risk and behavior.

That puts RTA’s on the fastest path to extinction, and keeps them on it.

And that’s our core goal.

Life and Death in a Rear View Mirror

by Kathy McMahon, Team Zero Advocate

July 1995, DublinI came back to consciousness still inside the car, with harsh fumes permeating the air around me. It took a few moments for me to get my bearings.

Then I remembered what I had been doing moments before this – driving towards Tallaght on the Belgard Road with my two wonderful sons in the car.

My last memory was seeing in the rear view mirror a car from behind come towards me at speed. As the moments seemed to become minutes. I tried to accelerate out of the way but the car continued on. There was a bang. Then darkness.

Now sitting in the car, my surroundings came into focus. We were on the other side of the dual carriageway -where we had a head-on impact. I noticed something strange about my body and thought, “I have never sat so straight in my life”. Not realizing that I was pinned to the car seat and that my legs would have to be rebuilt with titanium.

I turned to my son Justin sitting in the passenger seat. He was silent, his eyes closed. I spoke his name, “Justin”. There was no reply. I called to my younger son in the back seat, also without reply. Looking out the driver’s window, a man on his hunkers was speaking to me. I told him “I need to get out, I need to help my sons”. He said not to move, that the emergency services were there and going to get us out.

I called Justin in the passenger seat again and pleaded with him to respond. There was silence. He had something in his mouth, holding his airways open. I heard someone speaking to my youngest son in the back seat, telling him he was covering him with a jacket to prevent injury from flying glass as they cut us out of the wreckage. There was no response from him. I began to scream, to plead with God to give me all the pain and just leave my sons alone.

Finally, I heard my youngest son groan and I spoke to him, told him there were people there to help and not to be afraid. I turned my attention to my son in the front passenger seat, pleading with him to speak, to open his eyes. My other son, conscious now, calling his brother’s name. Begging him to reply. Then a sudden energy surge felt like something leaving, and we screamed for him to stay, but he was gone.

I must have lost consciousness again because next I found myself in an ambulance and recall the ambulance men telling me I was going to James Connolly Memorial hospital and my sons were gone to St James’. Darkness closed in again.

Unique Potential

“I hope you are saving for university, you have a scholar on your hands” The words came from my son’s sixth class teacher, Mr. Durcan, in St Mark’s primary school. His statement did not surprise me as I had raised my boy, so I knew.

Those remarks during a January, 1990 Parents/Teacher meeting were repeated in 1995 at a parent/teacher meeting. “If he was my son I would be shouting his name from the rooftops. Do you know how special and unique your son is?”

That last year Justin agreed to do work experience at a local vet’s clinic. He had grown to love animals through keeping gerbils. He became very interested in veterinary work from spending lots of time in the vet’s surgery. A career in veterinary was definitely on his radar. Or more.


It was a week later before I was again conscious. I was in the intensive care unit in James Connolly Memorial Hospital. I knew my son was no longer with us, I had known from the moment in the car when I felt his energy leave.

I came around just about the time that his human remains were escorted through the cemetery gates, surrounded by all his friends and the people who love him. He had a police escort on his final journey as a mark of respect.

We all must accommodate loss – and I have done so. But it is the waste of Justin’s potential and the effect on others that for me is irreplaceable.

If there had been a system which could have warned me that day, I might well have had time to get off the road. In any event, I see the immense benefits of helping prevent other similar incidents. I’m a strong advocate for rta0 and I urge you to be also.

The Knock on the Door

by Fintan Dunne, rta0 Founder

If the police had knocked just a little longer or harder on our front door at 7a.m., then my mother, my two younger brothers and I might have got to see John Dunne, father of our small family -before he died.

But we four lay in our beds asleep while he lay just miles away on his back on a frosty January road. John had an early morning contract to distribute Irish Independent newspapers to outlets across South Dublin. Occupationally not seat-belted, his van had skidded across the Bray Road in Dublin to collide head-on with an oncoming truck.

Deceased at 51, he left a widowed spouse, a youngest son at 12, another at 16 and I, the eldest, at 21.  The trauma was life defining.

On our way to Loughlinstown hospital that morning after a vague 7:50a.m. phone call, we drove past the mangled remains of the Independent van . My mother quietly said “My, God.” She knew then.  Later she knew for sure.

We had been a close-knit, artistic family of five. Now we were four.

The Echo

It’s twenty years later. I’m running a software development firm. All around me are banks of computers, servers and communications paraphernalia. Already, by 10am, it’s hotter than hell, because the equipment is pumping out heat.

The phone rings.

“I’m looking for Fintan Dunne.” A laconic, slow drawl of a voice.

“Yes, …. speaking.”

“Sergeant O’Rourke here, Fintan, in Enniskerry.” A long, silent pause.

Days ago, Joe- my youngest brother had phoned to say that our middle sibling, Declan had come home with pants wet up to the knee and was days previously in the early a.m. found in the hills above the Dundrum family home.

“You know why I’m calling you…., don’t you?,” said the sergeant.

Ah…no…. Ah, Jesus, no.

“Yeah……..,” I whisper. The fans whine, trying to shift hot air.

He breaks the silence. “Can you meet me at the station?”

When I get to Enniskerry and meet the Sergeant, he is a breath of fresh air. Down to earth. Which is just what I need. He is so matter of fact, you would swear we were going for a burger and not to the mountain roads above Enniskerry village to collect the car in which Declan had taken his own life.

It has a flat battery, because with the lights being on, they drained the battery after the petrol ran out. These are the mundane aspects of a suicide. We view the gorse-fringed clearing where Declan had taken his own life.

His suicide was multi-factorial, but in truth the trauma of those events a score of years earlier had left their mark. The accident had reached out to echo across time and claim it’s second fatality.

That’s the way of it. Ask others bereaved by the trauma of road accidents or suicide. I’ve known both. For countless families, the knock on the door is answered to devastating news. The suddenness of loss detonates shock waves lasting decades. People live on, never the same. Direct your empathy to my late mother -who lost more than I can comprehend.

We had been a close-knit family of four. Now we were three.

Ending the Carnage

“Are you sure you will be able to drive it?” inquires the Sergeant. The car reeks incredibly of carbon monoxide fumes. He and I have it running.

“Yeah….” I answer casually with a wave of my hand. I sit in and belt up. There is a part of me tough as a Vietnam vet; a war landscape most of my life.

From Enniskerry, I drove down to identify my brother Declan’s remains in the same Loughlinstown mortuary which had held my father twenty years earlier. One event, two entwined consequences.

I’ve touched the carnage and it’s touched me. I have skin in this game. During a late 1990’s surge in suicides, I established Men’s Aid to do anti-suicide radio advertising and outreach. Suicide and road deaths are twin mass killers. Issues constantly close to my heart.

Sentiment however, won’t prevent tomorrow’s road tragedies. Determination and human ingenuity will. So here’s good news for those who want to see an end to destroyed lives and fractured families.

I became an Apple ‘tech’ pioneer in 1981. Reinvention via human factors technology is the blood in my veins.

Over the last two years, I’ve overcome all technical obstacles to invent a smartphone app called Alice, which prevents road accidents.

Smartphones are today in widespread use. So while we await a new generation of intelligent cars, drivers can team up with Alice on their smartphone and avail of a road-savvy artificial intelligence, always alert for danger.  You can learn more about Alice on our website homepage.

It’s taken time until smartphones got sufficiently widespread, reliable and globally cheap to make the Alice system possible.  That time is now.

My mother Mary instilled in all of us a powerful meme: “Anything worth doing,” she would say, “is worth doing well.” Well, it isn’t only tragedy which knocks. Opportunity knocks also. We have a historic opportunity.  Let’s do it well.

I’ve outlined a deployment timeline below: