Facedrive Inc. (“Facedrive”) (TSXV: FD), the first Canadian peer-to-peer, eco-friendly and socially responsible ride-sharing network and a “people-and-planet first” business, is pleased to announce that in collaboration with University of Waterloo, has developed “TraceScan”, a digital contact-tracing app designed to support nationwide efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Through Facedrive Health, Facedrive’s recently announced health initiative, TraceScan was created in an effort to offer ongoing frontline assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. TraceScan incorporates Facedrive Health and a group of researchers from the University of Waterloo, which is located in the heart of Canada’s ‘Technology Triangle’ (also known as Ontario’s ‘Silicon Valley’) to provide product design, research and development, artificial intelligence and the manufacturing of wearable technology. Facedrive, will work in close collaboration with the University of Waterloo to support software development. The app is expected to release within the next 30 days. Facedrive will also look closely at Google and Apple’s API expected to be released in the coming months to assess the feasibility of integration into the TraceScan platform. Through this joint effort, Facedrive hopes to attract the support of all levels of government for a coordinated approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently, contact tracing processes rely heavily on the recall and memory of patients. However, there are instances in which patients do not remember all their contacts or do not know or recall with whom they have been in contact. TraceScan supplements current contact tracing efforts and enables contact tracers to inform other TraceScan users who have been in close contact with COVID-19 positive users more rapidly.
TraceScan operates by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between devices (phones or wearable technology) to detect other participating TraceScan users in close proximity. This enables users to take necessary response action sooner, such as self-isolation or monitoring of their own health closely for signs of COVID-19 symptoms.
“Contact tracing allows for early detection and helps reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 to better protect our families, loved ones and our whole community. The old-fashioned form of contact tracing, although effective, does have its flaws which are certainly addressed through TraceScan,” says Dr. Patricia Nieva. “The data collected from TraceScan will allow us to implement grouping using machine learning to detect trends which can help forecast the spread and define appropriate measures needed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” adds Dr. William Melek, both professors from University of Waterloo.
TraceScan enables users to be cognizant and play an active role in assisting with the containment of the COVID-19 virus in our communities. Effective contact tracing through TraceScan is designed to alert users immediately if they have come in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual. Being equipped with this information allows for crucial steps to be taken in order to mitigate disruptions and potentially further infections. TraceScan gives members of our society the ability to combat the COVID-19 crisis based on collective collaboration. At its essence, users who download the TraceScan app will proactively support current contact tracing efforts amidst this ongoing emergency situation.
TraceScan operates based on user consent and ensuring user privacy. Users must give explicit consent to participate in TraceScan, which will allow their data to be used for contact tracing. The log in will only require a phone number for verification. TraceScan does not collect sensitive personal information or use location data. The key mechanism of the platform revolves around exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals.
If a user is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can send their TraceScan logs to facilitate the contact tracing process. All TraceScan logs are stored locally on the user’s phone in an encrypted form. The logs do not contain the users’ phone numbers. Instead, they contain a set of cryptographically generated temporary IDs. The logs leave the user’s phone only when they find out that they are COVID-19 positive, and logs are only deciphered and analysed after the user sends the information to facilitate contact tracing. Up until that point, there is no knowledge of the user’s TraceScan data.
“MT>Ventures is proud to support innovative companies taking on the new challenges that COVID-19 has brought. TraceScan requires a firm that can provide guidance in a variety of key areas including privacy and data security in the context of our MT>Ventures program which allows us to provide clients with services beyond pure legal advice. We are excited to collaborate with TraceScan on this mandate,” said MT >Ventures Partner Aliya Ramji.
“As an innovative technology company with a people-and-planet-first business model, we believe it is Facedrive’s responsibility to contribute advanced technology solutions to our country in a time of crisis, and we are extremely pleased to be collaborating with the University of Waterloo in the development of this critical application to help halt the spread of COVID-19 and protect people, families and communities from this virus,” said Facedrive Chairman and CEO Sayan Navaratnam.
Facedrive is a “people-and-planet first” ride-sharing platform, and the first to offer green transportation solutions in this space. Facedrive is committed to doing business fairly, equitably and sustainably, with a firm dedication not only to seamless customer service that offsets CO2 by planting thousands of trees and gives riders a choice between EVs, hybrids and conventional vehicles, but also to its drivers. Facedrive is a community platform designed to become the #1 recognized eco-friendly and socially responsible TaaS platform in any market that it enters. Facedrive is also pleased to announce that it has recently acquired a wholly-owned subsidiary, HiRide Shares Ltd (“HiRide”), a social car pooling app. Facedrive is changing the ride-sharing narrative for the better, for everyone.
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Certain information in this press release contains forward-looking information. This information is based on management’s reasonable assumptions and beliefs in light of the information currently available to us and are made as of the date of this press release. Actual results and the timing of events may differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking information as a result of various factors. Information regarding our expectations of future results, performance, achievements, prospects or opportunities or the markets in which we operate is forward-looking information. Statements containing forward-looking information are not facts but instead represent management’s expectations, estimates and projections regarding future events or circumstances. Many factors could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements or future events or developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
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