In recent times, automation has been on the rise. With everything getting a technological twist, human safety requires the same. Something made possible by a group of young entrepreneurs from New Hampshire.
The Smart Wheel by Paige, Emily, and Kate Balcom, along with TJ, Brighton, and Jaden Evarts, is monumental. Being an automated system, it aims to warn the driver if their hands are removed from the steering wheel. A part of the device illuminates when this happens, alerting the driver to get back in position.
A group of teenagers appeared on Shark Tank to present their product. For them, one of the major determinants of road accidents is the smartphone, as it reduces alertness and focus while driving. This results in a greater chance of being a part of an avoidable road accident. In short, texting and driving never go hand in hand.
The youngsters went on to explain the usage of the Smart Wheel. They also emphasized the easy installment of the product. Installation can happen over a range of steering wheels of varying sizes.
The pitch then talked about the product being a tested prototype. If the group got an investment, the money would allow the production process to begin. After that, the Smart Wheel would be available for retail for $200 with a cost price of $50.
The group sought investment of $100,000 for an equity share of 15%. Daymond John was the first one out. According to him, with his minute expertise in the area, he would not be a good fit. Next came Barbara Corcoran. Her ambiguity about the reporting process of the device made her drop out. Soon, Kevin O’Leary also dropped out.
The final deal rested with Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban. The entrepreneurs made a counter offer that they could not resist. This was for a $100,000 investment with a share of 30%. Yet, that was not all. They also wanted a shared agreement with a car manufacturer for business expansion.
For Robert and Mark, the deal sounded like a good one. They agreed to have equal shares in the transaction and accepted the deal. For them, the 30% share would come from stock ownership.
Later on, the deal fell through because of the inability of the sharks to get a manufacturer on board. Although Smart Wheel is still in business, it has not set its product out for retail.
Our Review of Smart Wheel
When a product comes with innovative safety measures, we are a fan, especially if the developers are the bright young minds of the world.
Efficient and practical, the Smart Wheel is a product that can prove to be beneficial for a wide range of vehicle users, especially youngsters. The widespread use of phones while driving proves dangerous for all and needs proper attention one way or another.
The gadget also comes with the option of connecting with a phone app. The purpose of this is to track the driving habits of the driver. This can come in handy for parents to see what kind of drivers their youngsters are.
However, there’s still doubt about how well a driver uses the device. It does not guarantee if the driver will take notice of the warning given by the Smart Wheel. Hence, in that aspect, adjustments should preside.
Pros of Smart Wheel
- The Smart Wheel comes with easy installation. There are no extra wires present that might hinder the driving process. The device uses snaps that secure it around a steering wheel.
- It connects with a software application that allows driving insight. This is beneficial for new drivers. They themselves can assess their driving habits, or their guardians can do the same.
- The Smart Wheel uses light and tone to remind the driver to focus on the road.
- It adapts to various kinds and sizes of steering wheels.
Cons of Smart Wheel
- The product is costly for the target population: youngsters.
- The Smart Wheel does not have a variant for bikes and motorcycles.
- The illumination of the device might itself feel distracting for some. This might end up taking the driver’s focus off the road.
- It does not guarantee that the driver will improve their driving habits.
Who is Smart Wheel For?
Smart Wheel is for drivers who drive a vehicle with a steering wheel. The product focuses on improving young individuals’ driving habits, especially those prone to using their phones while out on the road.
It aims to improve driving experiences by keeping the driver’s focus on the road. This is to reduce the number of accidents due to negligence. With rising distractions and traffic, it is crucial to do so. For this purpose, the Smart Wheel acts as a device that lights up and creates a tone. All when the driver removes their hands from the steering wheel.
Along with that, parents and guardians can also use it to track someone’s driving habits. This helps to keep a check on young drivers and helps them improve their driving experience.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Currently, there are no competitors for the Smart Wheel in the market. Smart Wheel itself has not launched its product in the market. Yet, their website remains live, and they are still active on social media for the cause of the business.
Our Final Thoughts
It is no surprise that the need to reduce road accidents is crucial, especially in a world where getting distracted from a simple smartphone is common. To do that, innovative and creative methods should be present. Such a device is the Smart Wheel.
It is unique and helpful and provides a chance for drivers to improve their driving ways—all for keeping their focus on the road while they drive. Though the product is still not out for retail, we hope it becomes available, especially for young drivers who might need a little help to be better drivers.