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ITS: Driving towards Road Safety

By Mohit Sindhwani, Head - Innovation and Technology, Quantum Inventions Pte Ltd.

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Mohit Sindhwani, Head - Innovation and Technology, Quantum Inventions Pte Ltd.

It is estimated that there will be about two billion vehicles on the roads by 2035.  As cities continue to become land-scarce with overburdened road infrastructure, these additional vehicles on the road will adversely affect the road safety statistics. Today, 94 percent of road accidents are estimated to be attributable to drivers, with distracted driving being the primary cause for crashes.  We see advances in Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) as a crucial enabler to not only manage traffic flow and maximize road network usage, but also as a means to improve road safety.

Emerging disruptive trends such as in-vehicle driver assistance systems, internet of things, vehicle automation, mobility-as-a-service and big data together play a vital role in evolving transport safety, in addition to enabling smarter and greener transport.  We think that the following streams represent a paradigm shift in how we understand and manage road accidents:

" Emerging disruptive trends such as in-vehicle driver assistance systems, internet of things, vehicle automation, mobility-as-a-service and big data together play a vital role in evolving transport safety. "

  1. In-vehicle collision avoidance systems: Collision or crash avoidance systems offer drivers with assistance features that help to prevent accidents by detecting potentially dangerous situations. Such systems include adaptive headlights, blind spot detectors, forward collision warning systems, auto-brakes, and lane departure warning and prevention technology.  These systems either provide a warning to the driver for the looming danger or take action autonomously to mitigate dangerous situations. 
     
  2. V2X Communications: Remarkable progress is being made in technologies for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and infrastructure-to-vehicle communication.  Together, these allow low-latency and highly localized non-centralized communication of relevant information. By using beacons that integrate with traffic lights and detection cameras at intersection, drivers can be warned of dangerous situations, thereby reducing accidents at intersections. V2V communications will also be able to alert motorists when approaching a potential accident or danger on the road.
     
  3. Anonymous Crowd-Sourced Information and Big Data Analytics: The availability of relatively cheap connectivity and abundant computing power in the cloud has opened up opportunities to process large amounts of anonymous data sourced from vehicles and detection systems.  These are allowing governments to have a better view of the locations where drivers may be driving unsafely. This insight is helping optimize the impact of deployment of enforcement systems by prioritizing the locations based on data-backed observation of unsafe behavior rather than those simply based on a traditional survey.
     
  4. Autonomous Vehicles: While fully automated, driverless vehicles may still be many years away, the path to automated driving is filled with technological advances aimed at reducing the dependence on a slow-reacting human, who has incomplete information. These vehicles will incorporate armies of sensor and high-performance systems that will utilize a combination of algorithms to deliver greater safety.

  We live in an exciting era where the next 10 – 20 years should see an exponential increase in the overall safety of our roadway networks. Advances in ITS have ability to radically               transform mobility in our cities. As these technologies come to fruition, it will be important for society to adapt to them and for lawmakers to move quickly to ensure that the rights of the         citizens (such as privacy and anonymity) are protected.

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