Ford is looking to take road safety up a notch as it is now working alongside various experts to develop a predictive road-safety tool that uses data to predict potential road incident hotspots in a certain area.
The American carmaker has partnered with the Oxfordshire County Council, AI specialist Vivacity Labs, and the Loughborough University’s Transport Safety Research Center to conduct trials for this new project. The initiative has also received financial support from government-backed innovation fund Innovate UK.
The new ‘Data-Driven Road Safety Tool’ currently in the works makes use of information gathered from connected vehicles’ smart roadside sensors, and local authorities. The information will be analyzed to not only predict potential hotspots, but also identify the root causes of these incidents, thus allowing cities to take preemptive actions and reduce the risks for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
For the upcoming 18-month project, about 700 passenger and commercial vehicles around Oxfordshire and London will be voluntarily connected to aid the research. Detailed telematics data such as brake and accelerator pedal usage and steering wheel angles will be gathered and analyzed, along with the information gathered from roadside sensors.
Vivacity Labs will utilize machine learning algorithms to analyze movement patterns of all road users, including non-connected vehicles, and detect near-miss incidents. Ford says that the method is non-intrusive of privacy as the video feeds gathered by the sensors are discarded at source.
Then, experts from the Loughborough University will work with Ford’s Global Data Insight and Analytics team to analyze the driver and vehicle data, while the Oxfordshire County Council will focus on how the info provided by local authorities can be utilized by the predictive tool to improve road safety.
“Soon every new vehicle will be a connected vehicle, and we see this as an opportunity to reduce road traffic incidents and save lives in a significant way,” said Ford Mobility City Insights project lead Jon Scott. “By collaborating with leading innovators, experts and academics—and with the backing of Innovate UK—we truly believe we can help improve mobility for millions around the world.”
What do you think of this new initiative from Ford?