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By Jachin Jane O. Berilla, DOST-STII

According to Metro Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) Accident Reporting and Analysis System in 2019, truck accidents comprise 15.33% of total road accidents with 98 deaths in the country.

To help make our roads safer, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) and Quicktrans Cargo Moving, Inc. officially inked the research collaboration agreement to develop software and hardware solutions to train Filipino truck drivers using Internet of Things (IoT) last February 23, 2020, via a virtual signing ceremony.

As the Philippine economy progressed in the past decade, evidenced by the expansion in the trucking industry, there is also an increase in demand for qualified professional truck drivers and helpers in fleet management and operations.
However, the training of qualified drivers cannot cope with the increasing demand, leaving industries no choice but to accept underqualified and inexperienced drivers which often causes road accidents, costly insurance premiums, and increased risk in trucking operations. 

To address these issues, the collaboration underscored the implementation of the project titled ‘Drivers Roadworthiness Improvement Verification Education and Readiness for the Philippine Logistics Industry or DRIVER PH’ which seeks to minimize road accidents by analyzing and evaluating truck drivers’ competence on the road.

(Present in the signing were Dr. Elizabeth Quirino-Lahoz, TIP President, Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara, DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development, Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director, and Mr. Teddy Gervacio, Chief Executive Officer of Quicktrans Cargo Moving Inc.) 

The DRIVER PH project will combine information communication technology (ICT) solutions to monitor and record the driving attitude of drivers such as their sudden acceleration, stopping, swerving, and turning. It will also determine the degree of driving knowledge of drivers through a gamified assessment with emphasis on technical driving and vehicle roadworthiness know-how. The gathered data will be sent to a cloud to be processed using artificial intelligence and data analytics. A simplified dashboard that reports the fleet and up to individual driver reports will be accessible through a web and phone app by trucking operators.

DRIVER PH will also have a learning platform that will create suggestions on what to improve, what to maintain in practice, and what other things are needed to be learned as aided by artificial intelligence and data analytics in every trip made.

Engr. Felizardo C. Reyes, DRIVER PH project leader, said that they are currently working on the learning modules, webinars, and other materials for the learning platform. Driving rules and regulations, laws, and road courtesy materials will also be available to allow drivers to learn on their own pace. The platform will also have a special function where operators and company headquarters can supervise the progress of their drivers.

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD as the monitoring agency, said that the potential of this project is limitless. “The same solution can be adopted in different transport sectors such as bus transport, jeepneys, taxis, TNVS, and hopefully even tricycles depending on the result and progress that it will impact in the trucking industry”, he said.

Teddy Gervacio, chief executive officer of Quicktrans Cargo Moving Incorporated, the technology adopter of DRIVER PH, expressed his excitement about the project. “This is the realization of our vision of having more professional truck drivers that will lead to reliable transportation of goods and services,” Gervacio said.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara also lauded this initiative and recognized TIP’s endeavors in research and development. “This collaboration is a great initiative given that technology adoption is also underway. This is what we aim in DOST, research turning into something useful and tangible,” Usec. Guevarra expressed.

On the other hand, Dr. Elizabeth Quirino-Lahoz, president of TIP Philippines, also welcomed the collaboration, hoping for a positive impact on the trucking industry to better improve the economy. She said that these experiential opportunities will further hone the talents of TIP in research and development.

DRIVER PH is a one-year project funded by the DOST-Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE), one of the programs under the Science for Change Program (S4CP), which is being monitored by DOST- PCIEERD to be adopted hereafter by Quicktrans Cargo Moving, Inc.  (S&T Media Service)

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