Inspiration

628,521… was the total amount of reported criminal attacks against students on their way to and from school in the US elementary, secondary & universities campuses on 2014. From this amount, around 40 were murders and almost 170,000 were classified as serious violent victimizations such as rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault [1]. We see these numbers more than a mere statistics but lives that were marked because of an unfortunate event.

Also, between 2001 and 2013 on average 4% of students reported being afraid of an attack or harm on the way to and from school. This makes at least 2 million students in the U.S. (plus their parents) likely to be interested in using the application [1].

So, how to improve our youngest’ safety? How to help them decide which is the safest path to their destination? Or even better, how to watch their steps remotely?

We are living in a dynamic world in which everything is evolving at a very fast pace, even the way crimes are committed. We believe that people’s collaboration can make powerful contributions. Detroiters are already turning this belief into action by releasing the Detroit Strategic Framework Plan which is “a guiding blueprint for transforming Detroit from its current state of population loss and excessive vacancy into a model for the reinvention of post-industrial American cities” (Griffin, Cramer, & Powers, 2014) [2]. So the purpose is to design a community-based & crowdmapping application to enhance public safety by connecting you to a relative or friend by sharing your route so they keep an eye on you. As the security threats expert Marc Goodman puts it: “After all, public safety is too important to leave to the professionals”.

Why is this app relevant to Detroit’s needs?

Although this is an application for any pedestrian and/or driver located in any city, we identified the following reasons for which Detroit, initially, will be interested in this solution:

  1. Public safety is frequently addressed across the imperatives on the Detroit Strategic Framework Plan as evidence of citizen’s priority [3].
  2. At the Wayne State University & Wayne County Community College District campuses alone, an average of 87 criminal offenses per year were reported during 2012-2014 [4].
  3. There were more than 530 carjacking offenses, 2,600 street robberies and 9,100 aggravated assaults reported in Detroit on 2015 [5].
  4. There were 54,483 people involved in 22,833 crashes within Detroit in 2015 [6].
  5. Enables citizens to commute anytime and anywhere feeling safer, thus, increase economic growth, as “public safety plays a critical role in supporting economic growth and vitality by reducing the cost of crime and enhancing the desirability of communities as places to live and locate businesses”(Keeling & Cleverley, 2012) [7].
  6. Increase continuous improvement by creating a feedback loop empowering citizens participation by monitoring safety concerns within their neighborhood public areas.
  7. High people density with tech devices making them target to crimes.

What it Does

Marauder mApp enhance security throughout your route (walking, public transport or car) by connecting you to a relative or friend by sharing your route so they can watch your real-time path remotely. It also enables you to foresee any security alerts, street lights that are not working or hazards raised by other active users. Thanks to this you will be able to find the best path with the least dangers.

The application displays an emergency button to call 911 and it also features a panic mode which alerts your virtual watcher if you are in trouble (New feature). This panic mode is triggered automatically if you suddenly drop your mobile and/or run or while driving if a car door is opened or the airbags deployed (This feature is not included on the Demo yet). When triggered it will begin a countdown of 5 seconds allowing you to dismiss the alert in case of a false alarm. When driving the alert can be dismissed by a voice command (This feature is not included on the Demo yet).

We envision the application to be compatible with smart cities initiatives, such as street lights that are equipped with motion sensors and cameras. This way Marauder mApp can give life to your route by enabling you and your virtual companion to watch your path in advance with real-time activity and pictures streamed from outdoor street lights --- this real-time data version is available on the demo.

While driving, Marauder mApp provides traffic data along your route (New feature). This uses the GE Current street light data which provides traffic information such as the amount of cars in your route and the lanes used.

What makes this possible?

Although Marauder mApp can be implemented with smartphone technology alone, its experience can be enhanced by leveraging car hardware modules (e.g. OpenXC) and city infrastructure such as public lighting technology (e.g. GE Current motion sensors and cameras).

The video streaming, pedestrian and traffic information rely on the GE Predix platform and its usage of GE Current street lights. The use of Predix and the GE Current street lights are not the only options to gather this information. Any cameras and other type of sensors with internet capabilities can be integrated with Marauder mApp. For example, the cameras installed on highways by the State of Michigan could be hooked up to provide video (http://mdotnetpublic.state.mi.us/drive).

The panic mode feature can be enabled with current smartphone technology. Sudden motions such as the phone falling or a user running can be detected both in iOS and Android devices. The panic mode for the vehicle users can be implemented using the OpenXC platform. Marauder mApp can be connected to the car ODB-II port via Bluetooth allowing the application to extract information from the vehicle such as the doors, airbag status and vehicle emergency codes.

MVP Testing Instructions & Features

  1. Go to http://godetroit.iamweb.com:3000/
  2. Create an account --- you can use fake e-mail if preferred, test@user.com works.
  3. Click on "Create Route’.
  4. Input "365-399 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92101, USA" in the From text box [a].
  5. Input "1402 K Street, San Diego, CA 92101, USA" in the To textbox [a].
  6. Let the Marauder mApp know if your are walking or driving.
  7. Click on "Get Route".
  8. MVP Demo Explanation
    • A map will show up displaying the recommended route. The traced path indicates the three GE Current streetlights available as dots. Every time there is activity within the LED sensor’s range a location marker will pop-up. If you roll your mouse over any of these markers, the total count of people in the area will pop-up.
    • At the bottom of the screen, images streamed from the recommended route’s outdoor streetlights will be displayed.
  9. Share your route by clicking on "Share".
    • If clicked on your cell phone will send the route link to any friend on Whatsapp [b].
    • If clicked on a desktop browser, the share button will copy the route’s URL to the clipboard to be shared as needed.
  10. You can click the emergency button which will display the alert message your watcher would see.
  11. Additionally, there is a yellow “Panic Demo!” button. Clicking it will trigger panic mode and will display a dialog with a countdown.
    • If the countdown goes down to zero an alert message that would be shown to your watcher will appear.
    • You can click the “I’m okay” button which will stop the countdown and bring you back to your route.
    • You can click the “I need help!” button which will display the alert message.

Note a: This is the only route that works on this MVP as the LED sensors are narrowed down to this area.

Note b: Whatsapp is supported as an example. Other messaging applications such as SMS, iMessage or Facebook Messenger can be added.

What’s New on Marauder mApp goDetroit

  • Share and watch routes not only walking but on car as well.
  • Notify your virtual companion once you have arrived.
  • New panic mode triggered by running, airbag deployment and other events.
  • New 911 emergency button.
  • Gather traffic data from the Predix platform.

What’s Next for Marauder mApp

  • Communicate street light sensors to coordinate traffic lights for a rapid traffic flow.
  • Trigger the panic mode if the user runs and/or drops the mobile.
  • Leverage OpenXC while driving to trigger the panic mode by monitoring the user’s vehicle:
    • Panic mode starts if the vehicle doors are opened or the airbags are deployed.
  • Add a new “I’m nervous” button.
    • When clicked the user needs to keep it pressed.
    • If the finger is removed trigger the panic mode.
  • Enable active users to share real-time security alerts, street lights that are not working, accidents, and other hazards.
  • Enable virtual companion to recommend pedestrian to change route.
  • Filter streamed camera images by selecting streetlight on the map.
  • Position the pedestrian being watched on the map. (Currently can be done but for demonstration purposes, since there are only 3 sensors in San Diego).

How was the Project built?

Marauder mApp is built on Javascript with Node.js, MongoDB and the Meteor Framework. This is used to create a lightweight web application that can be executed either on desktop or mobile and that can display information on real time.

To display the information the GE Predix platform is used. The project consumes four Predix microservices: User Account and Authentication, Pedestrian Planning, Public Safety and Traffic Planning. GE’s Intelligent Environment Public Safety API service provides real-time and historical images/video from each intelligent LED light installed in a city.

Accomplishments we are proud of

The project is able to trace routes that contain the GE Current streetlights and Cameras as way-points so that the route you take can be watched. The real time sharing of information is really powerful because the pedestrian does not need to have the phone on the hand, and suspicious activity is noted by the watcher, a message or a phone call will make them change the route.

Projected Use-Case

Alice wants to go from the University to her house late at night after a long study session. She pulls her mobile, opens Marauder mApp and enters her destination, she then decides to send a request to her friend Bob so that he can keep an eye on her journey home.

While Bob makes himself a sandwich, he gets a few pictures of Alice getting outside of the University from his home computer. Dinner in hand, he checks some images from a couple of blocks ahead of Alice. Seen everything looks fine he goes back to his dinner and starts reading a book.

Every few blocks the application asks Alice for a notification on how she's doing. Bob can look at images from cameras Alice has passed by while he enjoys his evening. (This feature is not included on the Demo yet)

After some time into his placid watch, Bob gets a notification to his mobile. Turns out some pedestrian activity has been detected some blocks away from Alice. With a few clicks Bob checks the images from around that area. It looks like a couple took out their dog for a night walk. He decides not to change Alice's suggested path and goes back to his dinner.

Once Alice gets home she sends a last notification to Bob thanking him for his watch. Bob sees Alice has arrived home safe while brushing his teeth, turns off his application and goes to sleep.

References

  1. Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education & The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
  2. Griffin, T., Cramer, D., & Powers, M. (2014). Detroit Works Long-Term Planning Project: Engagement Strategies for Blending Community and Technical Expertise. Retrieved from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute: http://www.mdpi.com/2075-5309/4/4/711/pdf
  3. 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan. (2013). Retrieved from Detroit Future City: https://detroitfuturecity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/DFC_Full_2nd.pdf
  4. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  5. City of Detroit open data
  6. Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.
  7. Keeling, M., & Cleverley, M. (2012). Accelerating economic growth and vitality through smarter public safety management. Retrieved from IBM Global Business Services: https://eu-ems.com/event_images/Downloads/IBM%20-%20Accelerating%20Economic%20Growth%20through%20Smart%20Public%20Safety.pdf
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