Some might say that the recent pairing of Al Gore and Richard Branson in an intriguing new business endeavor is a match made in eco-heaven given their equally impressive and ever-growing list of planet-friendly efforts. The former Vice President of the United States, current We Can Solve It co-founder (along with The Alliance for Climate Protection) and author of “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis” shares good company with British entrepreneur and Virgin empire head Richard Branson, who famously pledged $3 billion throughout the next several years toward alternative fuel research and development among other global warming preventative measures.
Rather than rubbing elbows together on a daily basis, the environmentalists are both channeling sizable sums of money into GreenRoad — $10 million from Al Gore’s Generation Investment fund and approximately $40 million from Richard Branson’s Virgin Green Fund. That collective sum speaks volumes about how much they believe in the company that strives to improve our population’s driving habits through preventative applications such as reducing the incidence of car accidents/the expense of operating motor vehicles and enhancing overall fuel economy.
A seemingly simple two-inch long dashboard mounted light (conceived of by an Israeli entrepreneur in response to the harrowing experience of nearly being run off the road by kids with apparently nonexistent driving skills) is at the heart of the GreenRoad concept. The system — which uses an amalgam of parts including a dashboard, CPU, GPS chip, accelerometer and Google maps thrown in for good measure — transitions from green to yellow if a driver makes risky and erratic decisions that could compromise their safety and/or potentially cause an accident. The light only morphs to full-tilt red when things are officially hairy behind the wheel.
What makes the device particularly appealing is that it keeps track of the driver’s level of performance without incorporating invasive techniques such as audio or video surveillance. For Branson and Gore, however, it’s a product that does far more than that – it actually saves money (10% on yearly fuel costs) and lives while also protecting the environment by conserving resources. On average, $230 billion is spent on professional fleet road accidents annually, but it is estimated that from $1000 to $4000 can be saved per vehicle installation of the GreenRoad device. Sound smart and squeaky green to us — we’ll honk to that!
Via Tech Crunch