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New device calls for help a Splitsecnd after accidents

  • Splitsecnd

  • Splitsecnd

If your car crashes in the woods and no one is around to hear it, will anyone come to the rescue?

They will if your car is equipped with a new device, originally developed by students at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University.

The Splitsecnd (“o” intentionally dropped from the name) is a small box that plugs into a 12-volt lighter socket and is equipped with an accelerometer that can detect if a car has been in an accident, along with GPS to pinpoint its location and cellular communications connected to an emergency call center.

If an accident happens, the device alerts the center and an emergency specialist calls the car to assess the condition of the passengers. If there is no response, or help is deemed necessary, local emergency services are contacted to respond to the accident.

A button on the device also allows car occupants to contact the center in the event of a medical emergency, and a battery back-up allows it to operate for up to an hour without being connected to an outside power source

Invented by Chris Thompson and William Green while they were studying engineering at Vanderbilt, the company was launched with help from the JumpStart Foundry, a startup incubator in Nashville.

The emergency services provided mimic those available through factory-installed equipment from several automakers, including General Motors, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, but Splitsecnd says its device can be used in any car that has a lighter socket. GM also sells an aftermarket accessory called OnStar FMV, which works with many GM and Non-GM vehicles, particularly those built since the year 2000, but requires installation and is not yet approved for use with every car.

While OnStar FMV costs $99.95 with an $18.95 monthly service charge, which includes roadside assistance and stolen vehicle tracking, SplitSecnd is $199.95 and $14.95 per month.

Splitsecnd does have another feature that aims to make it appealing to parents, a Family Finder that allows you to track the car’s location on the internet or via a mobile device. So even if they’re keeping out of the trees, if they’re not careful, they still could find themselves in a lot of trouble.