Within an hour of hearing about a fatal crash between a self-driving test vehicle and a pedestrian, Bastien Beauchamp started thinking about better ways for autonomous vehicles to communicate with vulnerable road users.
"I saw that news, and I was really shocked," said Beauchamp, a serial entrepreneur. "I thought, 'This is the future, where you have no power and don't make eye contact with a driver.' I thought there must be a way to have some power as a pedestrian or bicyclist."
Shortly after the crash, in which an Uber test vehicle struck and killed Elaine Herzberg on March 18, 2018, Beauchamp began developing an app-based technology he envisioned as a digital seat belt that could better protect pedestrians, bicyclists, scooter riders and others from self-driving vehicles. Quickly, he broadened the idea to address communications with both human and automated drivers.