Smart Highways Magazine is the only magazine about Intelligent Transport Systems aimed solely at the UK market. Its job is to bridge the gap between technology suppliers and the UK road and traffic managers. Smart Highways is published four times per year. It features a review of the main industry news, an interview with a leading professional, columnists, case studies, viewpoints, features etc.
International technology company Semcon has announced that it is part of a new functional safety partnership with a global vehicle manufacturer.
Semcon stated that the project aims to use quality-assured system solutions to ensure that the autonomous vehicles of the future are reliable.
The new contract also includes strategic consulting to ensure that safety becomes a natural element in all software development, working methods and management decisions relating to the autonomous vehicles of the future.
It intends to be a two-year project that is being supplied to the client by Semcon and Qamcom.
Markus Granlund, CEO at Semcon said, ,Functional safety has become even more key now that vehicles are becoming autonomous, and strategic decisions also have to take this into account.’
Semcon also said that it feels it is necessary to make sure that autonomous products are sufficiently safe and that people can rely on the technology.
Insurance market Lloyd’s of London is said to be pushing to revamp auto coverage as it thinks that the rise of driverless cars looms.
Lloyd’s Chief Executive Officer John Neal said that the company is talking with automakers about how to set up different policies to stay relevant as car ownership changes.
Bloomberg reports that Neal said that the shift is “inevitable” as companies such as Tesla explore their own insurance options.
‘Within five years, particularly in an urban environment, we’ll find a very different approach to the supply of a motor vehicle and the insurance that goes with it,’ Neal said, according to Bloomberg. ‘It won’t be conventional motor insurance.’
Bloomberg says that when responding to a question about Tesla’s decision to create its own insurance product with help from the industry, Neal said that autonomous vehicles will merely result in demand for a different product, and not the end of car insurance.
The introduction of the UK’s first Clean Air Zones is to be significantly postponed due to a government delay in delivering digital systems required to make the zones operational and enforceable.
Both Birmingham City Council and Leeds City Council had been on track to implement Clean Air Zones on the basis that a vehicle checker tool, which is being delivered by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU), would be ready by October 2019 as planned.
However JAQU (a joint unit between DfT and DEFRA) has now confirmed that the vehicle checker will not be available until at least December 2019 — leaving just weeks before the zones were due to come into force in January 2020.
Additionally, the government is now expecting local authorities to deliver a system for collecting payments from non-compliant vehicles which enter the Clean Air Zone — having previously said that it would deliver this.
The original plans for Clean Air Zones in Birmingham and Leeds came after the government identified that parts of each city would likely fail legal air quality levels by 2020 and instructed both local authorities to tackle air pollution as soon as possible.
Air pollution has been identified by Public Health England as the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. Evidence shows that it can cause or worsen a range of lung and heart conditions including asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic heart disease and stroke.
Councillor James Lewis, Deputy Leader for Leeds City Council said, ‘It is extremely disappointing that Leeds has been forced to delay the introduction of one of the UK’s first Clean Air Zones because of the government’s failure to meet its own commitments to the two largest local authorities.’
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Birmingham City Council said, ‘The council has been fully on track to implement the Clean Air Zone from January 2020 on the basis of assurances from the Government that the vehicle checker would be in place by October this year.’
‘However, the delivery of this essential online tool has now been delayed to December 2019, which means we are unable to go ahead with our Clean Air Zone in January as planned, as this would be completely unfair on residents, businesses and visitors to the city who would only have a matter of weeks, if not days, to make key choices about their travel behaviour or upgrade their vehicles. This is simply unacceptable,’ continued Zaffar.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced the winners of its London RoadLab innovation challenge that aims to develop new technologies that could help to make the UK capital’s roads safer and smarter during roadworks.
Working in partnership with Plexal, the innovation centre based at Here East and utility companies, suppliers were invited to pitch ideas for tackling some of the biggest problems caused by roadworks last year. Nine innovative solutions were shortlisted and awarded £20,000 each.
They joined a ten week programme and worked closely with subject matter experts across TfL, London Councils and the utilities to further develop products that could have a positive impact right across the capital.
Following the ten week programme, four products have been chosen to be taken through to the contract negotiations stage with a total value of up to £2m. These include:
Immense Simulations – Developing an automated way of modelling the impacts of roadworks before they are done, which will improve the flow of traffic and reduce disruption. This modelling is traditionally a very time-consuming process
Mobilized Construction and Route Reports – Two different solutions that fit internet enabled devices to TfL buses and Dial-a-Ride vehicles and collect data on road quality. This would allow TfL to identify where the road surface is wearing out in real-time and would make it much easier to predict where maintenance will be needed ahead of time. This data could also help the London Boroughs with their highway maintenance activity
SAM – Using artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor social media to identify incidents and emergency events on the roads. This could make it easier for TfL to respond to incidents more quickly
The London RoadLab programme is the first time TfL has used an innovation partnership procedure, a new way of working with the private sector which allows TfL to find ways of tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the capital.
This procedure has been developed to make it easier for the public sector to encourage innovation from start-ups or large companies without hampering competition or transparency.
Volvo is to partner with U.S chipmaker Nvidia to develop AI used in self-driving trucks.
The partnership is said to be long-term and intends to begin immediately.
Reuters reports that Volvo said the partnership will focus on the development of a flexible, scalable autonomous driving system, which is planned to be used first in commercial pilot schemes before it is deployed in commercial vehicles from the Volvo Group.
‘Utilising Nvidia’s end-to-end artificial intelligence platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways,’ Volvo stated, according to Reuters.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang told Reuters, ‘The latest breakthroughs in AI and robotics bring a new level of intelligence and automation to address the transportation challenges we face.’
Volvo’s and Nvidia’s collaboration intends to be built on Nvidia’s full software package for sensor processing, perception, map localization and path planning.
Two members of the UK’s Intelligent Transport Society, Videalert and AGD Systems, say that exhibiting on ITS (UK)’s stand at the ITS European Congress has opened up business development discussions – with each other.
The two companies shared space with ITS (UK) itself in Eindhoven at the beginning of the month and as well as meeting many of the delegates and visitors who attended the show, they say that spending time talking amongst themselves on the stand meant they realised there were potentially some projects they could work on together.
AGD, part of the Traffic Group, is a leading manufacturer of ITS product solutions including a market-leading range of radar technologies, while Videalert provides intelligent traffic enforcement and management solutions through camera analytics.
Videalert Sales and Marketing Director Tim Daniels explained, “We attend many conferences and exhibitions through the course of the year and sharing the ITS (UK) stand was a very effective way to promote ourselves at the Congress. We had many highly productive conversations throughout the event and made a number of valuable contacts. We will also be exploring future opportunities with the AGD team.”
Greg Baker, Commercial Manager at AGD Systems, added, “It was really good to understand more about what other businesses are trying to achieve. To be able to have conversations and exchange ideas allowed us to broaden our thinking about new markets and where we can modify our existing platforms to integrate them into new solutions.”
ITS (UK)’s Secretary General Jennie Martin commented, “The sort of conversations I saw in Eindhoven are exactly what we like to see facilitated through membership of the Society. Having a huge range of organisations dedicated to ITS as members means they meet and talk and often then come up with innovations they wouldn’t necessarily have thought of individually. It’s just part of the way we lead the conversation about intelligent mobility in the United Kingdom.”
Picture L-R Ian Patey (ITS (UK) Chair), Rob Kinch of Videalert, Neil Keith of AGD Systems, Jennie Martin (ITS (UK) Secretary General).
VITRONIC has announced that it has received a substantial order from the MENA region, for the installation of POLISCAN REDLIGHT-system.
The order is in addition to software solutions for the analysis of case-data that will be provided to the region.
Solution providers for industrial and logistics automation and traffic enforcement VITRONIC will be installing 750 new systems to the existing network of traffic control solutions, to monitor safety within road junctions.
VITRONIC states that its laser-based technology, the POLISCAN RED-LIGHT systems offer an efficient method to simultaneously monitor infringements such as jumping red lights and speeding.
In addition to detecting simple stop line infringements, the system also registers turning infringements in the so-called “Yellow Box” danger zones.
As well as the traffic monitoring systems, VITRONIC will be delivering software solutions for both the transfer and analysis of case data. POLISCAN CONNECT and POLISCAN OFFICE PRO, will be used in the MENA region.
London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has revealed its new commercial vehicle, a zero-emission capable light van.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and LEVC CEO Joerg Hofmann revealed the electric van at the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
LEVC said that its new light commercial vehicle (LCV) has been designed to meet rapidly increasing global demand for green, electrified commercial transport; medium-sized vans capable of moving goods around urban areas efficiently, while helping to improve air quality.
The new van can offer operators and drivers flexibility with an electric range of 80 miles and a combined petrol and EV range of 377 miles.
LEVC’s Hofmann said, ‘The light commercial vehicle sector is the only growing vehicle traffic segment in London. This is due to the rapid rise in internet shopping – the Amazonisation of retail.’
‘Every day there are 65,000 unique LCV journeys into London, but mobility must not come at the expense of air quality,’ added Hofmann.
LEVC said that its LCV will have class-leading safety. Its features will include the latest active safety systems from leading technology providers, as well as the world’s highest crash safety standards.
Sadiq Khan said, ‘I am delighted that LEVC is applying the lessons learnt from designing and building London’s electric black cabs to this new van. Developing clean, sustainable, electric vehicles is essential in order to tackle our air quality emergency and the climate change crisis.’
Intel Corp’s Mobileye told Bloomberg that it expects to launch a trial of ‘robo-cabs’ next year in Israel.
Last October Intel announced that Mobileye is working to commercialise a robo-cab service.
Bloomberg reports that Intel’s CEO Bob Swan said he rode a Mobileye autonomous car through Jerusalem congestion whilst pedestrians crossed the street and with traffic going both ways.
Swan told Bloomberg that the plan is to deploy the self-driving ride-hailing service in Israel first, and then to expand globally. He added that software development is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
According to Bloomberg Swan said that after his autonomous taxi ride he was ‘more encouraged’ by what he had experienced than he was a couple of years ago.
‘The most impressive thing is to just to see how far they have come in each one of the successive drives that I have gone on over the last two years,’ Swan reportedly added.