Ford connecting vans and sensors to improve road safety

Ford is developing an innovative predictive road safety tool which, using data from connected vehicles and intelligent roadside sensors, could help to make travel in towns and cities safer and easier.

The Data-Driven Road Safety Tool will analyse information from connected vehicles, smart roadside sensors and local-authority data to predict the likely locations and possible root causes of potential road safety hotspots. The insights will enable cities to take pre-emptive action to address roads and junctions that pose the highest risks to road users.

Ford Mobility is leading the consortium for this project, which includes Oxfordshire County Council, AI sensor specialists Vivacity Labs, and leading academics from Loughborough University’s Transport Safety Research Centre, with support from Transport for London. The aim is to develop the tool into a solution that could benefit cities and road users around the world. The initiative has now received financial backing from the Innovate UK, the government-backed innovation fund.

Ford has conducted extensive research into the opportunity for connected vehicles and predictive analytics to help improve road safety, Now, up to 700 commercial and passenger vehicles will be voluntarily connected across Oxfordshire and London as part of the 18-month project starting this year.

Detailed telematics data from the fleet of vehicles – such as brake or accelerator pedal usage and steering wheel angle – will be analysed alongside information from up to 25 additional smart sensors to be provided in Oxfordshire by Vivacity Labs a specialist in traffic capture and classification, bringing the total number in use up to 100.

The insights and analysis from the vehicle data will be used to further prove and develop the digital road safety algorithm and tool into a scalable, commercial product to benefit cities and citizens around the world. The consortium will also seek to uncover further real-world applications for predictive road safety-related insights.

This project follows two successful trials in London in which analysts and data scientists from Ford Mobility sampled more than one million miles of driving by connected vehicles to identify, analyse and provide detailed safety mitigation guidance to local authorities on various road safety hotspots in Greater London.