Ensemble Duo Wins TAC Hackathon with ‘Smart Plates’ Idea

Ensemble Duo Wins TAC Hackathon with ‘Smart Plates’ Idea

Ensemble’s head of creative strategy Lauren Joyce and Melbourne brand partnerships manager Frank-Daniel Curcio have won a major hackathon staged by Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) for ideas to prevent young people falling asleep at the wheel.

Richard McGowan
Posted by Richard McGowan

The Ensemble team won the TAC’s world-first “Pause the Road Toll” ideas hackathon, edging out a field of 50 fellow digital innovators with an idea called “Power your Plates”, a concept involving rechargeable L and P plates for young drivers.

Their idea involves developing a digital interface whereby a sensor would be installed in all L and P plates to talk to the driver’s smart phone and alert them when they need to pull over and rest. The plates would also be powered by LED lights and emit a glow as the driver was becoming drowsy, based on the number of hours sleep the driver recorded on their smartphone application.

“It’s vital that we continue to push the boundaries of innovation and think outside the square if we are to achieve our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads,” said TAC chief executive officer Janet Dore. “We know how important it is to embrace technology in a new and creative way in order to reach out to young drivers – and that is exactly what Frank and Lauren have achieved through their ‘power your plates’ idea.”

The TAC partnered with Pause Fest – Australia’s biggest digital innovation festival – to run the one-day hackathon, pitting entrepreneurs, creative directors and technology experts against each other to come up with a digital solution to a specific road safety issue. Ms Dore said it was the first time the TAC had publicly called on the digital and entrepreneurial sector to help solve a road safety problem. She added that drowsiness was estimated to be a factor in 16 to 20 per cent of all road crashes.

“We’re looking forward to working with Frank and Lauren to explore the details involved in bringing their idea to life,” Ms Dore said.

Lauren Joyce said: “One of Ensemble’s major focuses is on ideas and implementation that get people talking. It’s great to have an opportunity to focus our efforts on something as important as road safety.

Frank-Daniel Curcio said: “We were given four hours to come up with an innovative response to the question: How can we use smartphones to get young drivers to avoid drowsy driving? The ideas were pitched to a panel of expert judges and we’re excited to take this idea on for such a great cause.”