A phone app that shows not only where road accidents have occurred but also an indication of their severity - is that a good idea or a gruesome gimmick?
This is perhaps the oddest use of augmented reality you are likely to meet but... it has to be said that it does have logic and a good intention. Have you ever driven past one of those signs that tell you that you are in an accident prone zone? Do you sometimes wonder exactly what makes that particular bit of road dangerous?
The point about road accidents is that they are major events when they occur but they are quickly swept away leaving nothing for people to see. As a result you can look at a stretch of road and think - "this is straightforward nothing could happen here" - even if there have been plenty of incidents in the past.
Now Moscow Ministry of Internal Affairs has commissioned a phone app that uses AR to show where accidents have occurred. It overlays figures and cars with crosses to show the accident locations and the casualties. The figures that are lying down with a black cross are moralities. Yes, it is all a bit grim and perhaps in bad taste, but it is designed to both shock and warn that what looks harmless is in fact deadly. Users can obtain more information on the accident by selecting the appropriate icon - photos, video etc.
The only problem is getting people to use the app. An ad campaign has spread QR codes about the city that allow people to download the app and try it out. Would you want to see an AR representation of a road you know showing the accidents in this way?
There are currently no statistics on whether or not the idea works but hopefully it will help reduce fatalities and injury until we all give up driving and hand over to the robotic cars.
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