Role of IoT in Road Safety

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Aug
16
2016
  • Author:
  • Deepa Nishant Sinha

Role of IoT in Road Safety

In the last few years, an alarming increase in the number of cars has been observed on the roads all over the world. But along with this progress, there is a steep upsurge in the number of accidental deaths and damages to the property too.

Many technology initiatives are undertaken world over to make smarter and safer roads, the one that can interact with traffic and pedestrians. Assuming that by giving in vehicle technology information to the driver, accidents can be averted, several technology-based products have been developed. The latest technology researchers are working on is based on Internet of Things (IoT).

With the aim to reduce collision, buses in London were fitted with brand new pedestrian and cyclist detection software, to alerts bus drivers when pedestrians and cyclists are moving close to their vehicles. Radar alerting and breaking system have been used in some other country to avoid rear-end collision.

For over a decade, road safety providers such as Fleet Management companies and insurers have used Telematics application to understand, manage, and improve driver behavior. What Telematics does is, they plug in a “black box” into a vehicle using GPS, and the mobile phone network is used to measure speed, acceleration, braking and cornering movements. This information is transmitted to servers where it is analyzed. Drivers are then given a score and feedback to encourage them to adopt a safe mode of driving. As this application records the information on “how, when and where” you drive, many organizations are often not ready to implement this software in their vehicles.

Another instance, where such a technology is used is in Illawarra, near Sydney. The Cooperative Intelligent Transport Initiative is a CITS testing facility, where they are conducting trials on heavy vehicles by connecting them with short-range wireless systems. Connected vehicles share information, such as vehicle position, direction and speed, with other connected vehicles at 10 times per second. These alerts can help drivers by cautioning them about upcoming hazards, potential crashes, especially over the crests of hills or around bends.

If machine-learning-powered analytic tools can be combined with IoT, then the gathered information can play a more proactive role in helping drivers adopt safer habits. For instance, over-speeding, not using seatbelt, over-acceleration are some of the common reasons why drivers meet with an accident. Geotab, a telematics company, is gathering information using IoT, and attempting to positively change the driver’s behaviour by using an in-vehicle driver feedback tool.

Internet of Things and machine learning technologies, if implemented rightly can reduce alarming number of accidents on road. All the above given instances are attempts to avoid crash. We have an Indian-based IT company, which has developed ‘Raksha Safedrive’, a product made on the principle of IoT. But that’s a product developed for quicker help following an accident or breakdown. Once fitted above the dashboard of the car, it’s capable of GPS tracking, automatic crash detection, and offer one-touch voice connectivity in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

An advanced product of IoT and machine-learning would be fully autonomous cars, an idealistic idea born to completely avoid accidents on roads. These cars will interact with their environment and make decisions on their own to prevent drivers from entering dangerous areas, assist in avoiding collisions, selecting detours and avoiding traffic jams. Trials to develop this car is underway. Until a fool-proof model of this car is rolled out or new innovations are introduced, we can employ technology to help us drive safe.

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