Portfolio #3 — Drive Buddy

Maria Teresa Stella
4 min readMay 16, 2018

Drive active, drive safe!


Our application, Drive Buddy, is aimed at ensuring the safety of drivers by engaging them in funny cognitive tasks in order to keep them awake and alert behind the wheel. Our ideal customers are truck companies, other workers who need to drive long hours, as well as the occasional driver (e.g. when going home from a party).

This project was part as the StartupLab course offered by the University of Trento and Contamination Lab. In the final competition for the best startup idea, Drive Buddy reached the Top 10 among the 21 running projects !


After getting on board with Elisa’s idea, we formed our team and refined our idea through the Customer-Problem-Solution model from Lean Startup. We then ran a survey with a first version of the prototype with our potential customers, which helped us refine the product.

The second part of the project then focused on the final pitch and on the business model for our app, Drive Buddy.


In this project, I curated the visuals (presentation, posters, fliers, etc.), the video editing and I designed the two versions of the prototype with Adobe Experience Design.

My improvement in visual skills (beginning vs end of project)

After the end of the project, I was then able to further develop the UX and UI of Drive Buddy as part of the course of Social Interaction.


The team before the final pitch (minus Simone)

Elisa Guardabasso — Head of team and Work Psychology student

Matteo Grotto — Computer Science student

Giulia Bertuzzo — Economics student

Simone Sperindé — Innovation Management Student

Antonio Massaro — PhD in Computer Science


February 2017 — June 2017


Every year, in Italy, there are several car crashes. Of these, 1/5 are caused by sleepiness, a condition which has been lamented by 50% of the participants in our survey. The current measures for counteracting sleepiness, which range from passive alerts embedded in the car to extra cups of coffee, are not enough to counteract the issue.


At the beginning of StartUp lab, we were asked to pitch our ideas and to articulate using the Customer-Problem-Solution model. This was not only to define the idea better, but also to recruit team members. When Elisa first told me about her idea, we then proceeded to create a short video to find our future team.

As seen in the video, our pool of users ranges from truck drivers to workers to regular citizens; our user research focused mostly on the 3rd category.

One of our first step was validating the problem: after posting a survey on social media and interviewing our target users, it was clear that sleepiness behind the wheel was a widespread problem that needed to be solved.

Talking with target users. Read more here

In the following weeks, we iterated on a first flow for our prototype to display in a second video. The user should be able to:

1 Insert tiredness level and length of journey;

2 Get quiz questions during the journey that require only a vocal input;

3 End the journey and view their score in the game.

Video showcasing the user flow
The mental state of the driver improves with cognitive stimulation

As our desk research showed, the cognitive stimulation — if not excessive — provided by the quiz can effectively improve alertness and suppress fatigue in drivers.

The result was this first prototype, featured in our second video.

The idea was very well received by the ones who completed our online survey. However, when presenting the video to our potential customers, our logo was rejected (more info here), which brought us to a complete re-branding of Drive Buddy.

The new app logo


After StartupLab I was able to improve the UX of the interface autonomously as part of the course of Social Interaction. To further develop the app concept, I looked more into gamification and added:

1 Leaderboards, to increse competition among users;

2 A badge system and secret achievements to increase engagement;

3 Social media sharing, to appeal to the socially-driven players;

The three gamification concepts

Here is the presentation with the final result.