ShareThis Page
Technology & STEM

South Fayette students win PennDOT's "Innovation Challenge"

Patrick Varine
| Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 5:12 p.m.
Signs that suggest to police a driver might be texting include weaving in traffic, making longer stops, driving at inconsistent speeds and driving with one’s head down.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Signs that suggest to police a driver might be texting include weaving in traffic, making longer stops, driving at inconsistent speeds and driving with one’s head down.

A group of South Fayette students won PennDOT's “Innovations Challenge” by designing an app to help prevent distracted driving.

Since last fall, students have been working hard to solve this year's challenge, which asked students to look at technologies and innovative methods, aside from traditional paid advertising, marketing and social media channels, that can be developed in the next five to 10 years to curb unsafe teen driving practices.

The winning regional team's innovation was to create the “Keep Your Head Up” app to curb Pennsylvania's epidemic of teen distracted driving. Team members Parv Shrivastava, Prateek Jukalkar, Suraj Bokil and Swathi Senthil created an app that would prohibit texting, social media apps and other visual apps to ensure the driver's attention to the road. However, access to emergency calling, GPS and pre-selected music would be enabled through voice-activated commands.

“PennDOT is committed to promoting safe driving practices through traditional media, such as radio, newspaper, television and social media,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “With this year's Innovations Challenge, we wanted students to look at non-traditional methods to foster more innovative approaches to address this issue.”

“The South Fayette STEM Team loves their smart phones, but they don't love that their family and friends engage in distracted driving,” said team mentor and South Fayette English teacher Jim Hausman. “We are grateful to PennDOT for hosting the competition and are diligently working to prepare our final presentation for Harrisburg.”

Regional winners of PennDOT's Innovations Challenge will now move on to compete in the statewide competition on April 24 in Harrisburg.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me