Toyota Motor Corporation, Komeda, and KDDI have launched a smartphone application dubbed “Driving Barista.” The app is designed to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Aichi Prefecture which are caused by drivers using their smartphones while driving. The traffic safety initiative involving the app will be carried out and jointly promoted by the three partners. The Driving Barista app can only be used within Aichi Prefecture. Leveraging the gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the smartphone body and the GPS to determine the distance driven, the app measures the distance the driver has driven while leaving the smartphone facedown. When the cumulative distance reaches 100 km, the driver will receive a coupon for a cup of blended or iced coffee at a Komeda Coffee Shop.
This anti-distracted-driving initiative is noteworthy in that the purpose-built app that implements it was developed in partnership with a mobile operator, KDDI. While Driving Barista’s free coffee in exchange for 100 km driven without using a smartphone may not seem particularly exciting, the idea of promoting driver safety is a good one, and for an MNO to participate in such an initiative stands to raise the company’s profile among the public. The cross promotion with a major automobile manufacturer like Toyota also should benefit the operator in terms of brand strengthening. If the app is available to all users regardless of whether they are KDDI subscribers, the initiative could very well have the collateral effect of driving new subscriptions to the operator.