Whether on the school run, going to work, or doing the weekly shop, we are all familiar with stretches of road or locations where more care is needed while driving. In some cases, we may choose to avoid these locations altogether to help ensure our journeys are completed safely.
Now, Ford cars UK has worked alongside VivaCity to develop a new “RoadSafe” concept to help alert drivers to higher risk locations and share insights with local authorities so these areas can be reviewed. The new digital tool, designed to improve road safety by leveraging data and complex algorithms, is now being tested in Oxfordshire and London. It’s the culmination of four years of research by Ford, including most recently a 20-month government-funded project conducted together with Oxfordshire County Council, Loughborough University and VivaCity, with support from Transport for London and backing from Innovate UK.
Making roads safer for everyone
Our collaboration with Ford has provided critical data which has enabled the team to develop a ‘Road Segment Risk Rating Heat Map’. This latest technology uses smart algorithms to crunch data from sources, including connected vehicles, roadside sensors and accident reports, in order to pinpoint where there is a higher chance of traffic incidents occurring. Our sensors work to expedite hazard processing by making data accurate, faster and more accessible. The information displayed on the digital heat map identifies the level of risk and can also be used to warn drivers of where the highest number of hazard hotspots take place.
The roadside sensors use machine learning algorithms to detect near-miss incidents, which in turn facilitates improved road safety. Through analysing movement patterns of vulnerable road-users, we assisted Ford’s Roadsafe program by precisely identifying the variety of hazards, such as places where vehicles pass too close to cyclists and processing badly designed infrastructures such as roundabouts and junctions.
Paving the way towards autonomous driving
Looking forward, “Roadsafe” technology could also benefit passengers riding in autonomous vehicles (AVs). While the onboard sensors of an AV would provide near line-of-sight visibility, a digital tool could also help them to anticipate hazardous situations and therefore adapt their operation.
Ford introduced “RoadSafe” at the Cenex LCV event on 22nd Sept. 2021 at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedford, UK. For more information about this project, please visit the Ford media website.
Get in touch with the VivaCity team to find out more about our traffic management and data solution and ask for a free demo.
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