Ford starts trials of new tool to predict accident hotspots
A new digital road safety tool that could predict potential incident hotspots is to go under trial from this summer by a Ford-led consortium – and vehicle owners are being invited to take part.
The carmaker’s collaborative work with experts and academics has now received financial backing from Innovate UK and is exploring how information from connected vehicles could be linked up with data from roadside sensors and local authorities to predict the likely locations and possible root causes of potential road safety hotspots.
The carmaker says the Data-Driven Road Safety Tool will provide insights that will enable cities to take pre-emptive action to address roads and junctions that pose the highest risks to road users. And the next stage of the work will see up to 700 passenger and commercial vehicles voluntarily connected across Oxfordshire and London as part of the 18-month project starting this summer – with drivers able to volunteer to take part.
The project will analyse detailed telematics data from the fleet of vehicles alongside information from up to 25 additional smart sensors to be provided in Oxfordshire by Vivacity Labs.
Experts from the Transport Safety Research Centre at Loughborough University and Ford’s Global Data Insight and Analytics team will analyse driver and vehicle data, while Oxfordshire County Council will focus on how local authority-provided data sources combined with the predictive tool can improve road safety for all users.
The work will help develop the digital road safety algorithm and tool for use as a scalable, commercial product that could bring road safety benefits globally. The consortium will also seek to uncover further real-world applications for predictive road safety-related insights.
“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 Jon Scott, project lead, city insights, Ford Mobility, Europe. “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.”
The project follows two connected vehicle trials in London, which revealed ‘hidden’ road safety hotspots in Greater London.
Recommendations for improvements included the introduction of red-light cameras to deter signal jumping, cutting back vegetation to ensure road signage was clearly visible, double-height signage and signals, resurfacing carriageways and raising service covers.
Ford Mobility is also working with authorities in Cologne, Germany, and Valencia, Spain, to identify further ways in which analysis of information connected vehicles and infrastructure can benefit urban mobility.
Vehicle owners in Oxfordshire and London who wish to find out more about participating in the road safety trial can contact the project team at https://takepartinresearch.co.uk/jobs/future-driving-solutions.