Mercedes-Benz has been awarded a far-reaching contract for road monitoring through vehicle data by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Min I&W). The project spans two years and covers three key areas: Winter Management, Asset Management and Road Safety.
The geographical breadth of the Road Monitor program (ROMO) extends across all provinces of the Netherlands with a roads network of more than 130,000 kilometers.
Mercedes-Benz will work in close partnership with the Dutch authorities to provide valuable and easy-to-use insights that will help make cities and communities more livable, with, safer, more efficient and more sustainable mobility. The project partners will use advanced software analytics to leverage anonymized data to ensure greater safety for all road users. Data protection has the highest priority. The raw material for this is anonymized data from car-to-X or other systems from intelligent, connected Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
Winning this important reference project in Europe for intelligent road monitoring marks a major step forward for Mercedes-Benz in our clearly stated aim to ‘Lead in car software’. By scaling up our high-impact road-monitoring solutions, we are actively fostering our vision of accident-free driving and making an important contribution to general road safety in the Netherlands.
Through the intelligent gathering, processing and visualization of our anonymized vehicle data, our algorithms and digital tools will be able to deliver action-guiding insights and thereby aid responsiveness and decision making in critical infrastructure projects. Not only users and experts, but also the wider public and generations to come will be able to benefit from this.—Daniel Deparis, Head of Urban Mobility Solutions, Mercedes-Benz Group AG
By working together on this unprecedented scale, experts from both Mercedes-Benz and the Netherlands’ Min I&W will build on existing assets to create added value through individualized solutions tailored to specific needs. This creation of shared value will not only assist the experts in their day-to-day work, but also aims to establish a whole new level of safety for citizens, the company said.
Furthermore, by maximizing the use of available data and knowledge, the project will also improve the efficiency and thereby the sustainability of traffic systems throughout the roads network, for example with regards to the management of traffic flows. The outcomes have the potential to cascade from localized community improvements to larger-scale environmental benefits. In this way, Mercedes-Benz vehicle data will provide valuable raw material for the development of digitally based answers to challenges in road traffic.
In the first of the three key areas of the program, Road Safety, Mercedes-Benz has been a leader for decades with its passive and active safety systems. Up to 45 different advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) already contribute significantly to traffic safety by mitigating the effects of a collision or, indeed, avoiding it altogether. Through the aggregation and processing of anonymized data gathered from these safety systems via the Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Cloud, the company has the capability to extend this benefit beyond the immediate scope of its own vehicles.
As part of the program with the Netherlands’ Min I&W, Mercedes-Benz Urban Mobility Solutions will provide a data dashboard that will help identify potential collision hotspots before collisions have even occurred. The company has already proven the effectiveness of this system in a pioneering pilot project with Transport for London.
The basis for this is near-accident data. Scaling up this approach in the Netherlands, the team will use anonymized ADAS data to detect and analyze specific locations where on-board safety systems are being deployed on a frequent basis. When combined with further public data sources and existing data on historical collision events, this can provide city planners with targeted insights to assist with infrastructure improvement and development.
The system can increase the safety of all road users across the board in equal measure: driver, cyclist or pedestrian. The system can also evaluate the effectiveness of infrastructure measures taken in the past.
In the area of Winter Management, Mercedes-Benz will merge anonymized car-to-X data with external sources such as static weather stations managed by the Dutch road authorities to identify adverse road conditions in real time. For example, when ESP or ABS sensors detect low road friction, the anonymized data, including GPS information, is sent to the Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Cloud via the mobile communications network. Once processed in the backend, the information can then be sent to digital maps and dashboards in road maintenance depots, enabling quick and effective deployment of the necessary resources.
First piloted by Mercedes-Benz in the mountainous Zollernalb region of Germany, located in the Swabian Alps, this early identification of risk improves traffic safety. The targeted use of resources such as salt and grit exactly where they are needed also has environmental benefits.
In Asset Management, Mercedes-Benz is setting a standard in predictive infrastructure. By identifying problems with and damage to infrastructure based on vehicle data, the road monitoring program in the Netherlands will support maintenance of the roads network.
Early identification of damage such as potholes and other road surface problems as well as abrasion of lane markings and missing or damaged traffic signs has the potential to increase the efficiency of maintenance work and improve safety.
In the case of potholes or surface waviness, Mercedes-Benz data can identify not only where such damage exists, but also the intensity and development over time. This information is valuable to authorities for advance planning and prioritizing the deployment of maintenance resources.
Mercedes-Benz Data Dashboard. A further important aspect for the road monitoring program is its easy-to-use front end known as the Mercedes-Benz Data Dashboard. Working collaboratively with experts and users from the Dutch authorities, Mercedes-Benz Urban Mobility Solutions will visualize the findings from its data analysis in interfaces tailormade to the specific needs in each of the three key areas.