The Dutch government’s ‘Road Monitor’ programme (ROMO) covers all provinces of the country with a road network of more than 130,000 kilometres. By providing high-quality information from the vehicles, Mercedes-Benz aims to contribute to safer, more efficient and more sustainable mobility in Dutch cities and towns. The project extends over two years and includes three central areas: Winter Management, Road Condition Analysis and Road Safety.
The project partners will work closely together to use state-of-the-art software analyses to ensure greater safety for all road users with the help of data. Data protection has the highest priority. The basis will be anonymised data from Car-to-X and other systems from connected Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
“The award of this European reference project for the intelligent analysis of road and traffic infrastructure is an important step for us towards our goal of ‘Lead in Car Software’,” explains Daniel Deparis, Head of Urban Mobility Solutions, Mercedes-Benz. “Through the intelligent collection, processing and visualisation of our vehicle data, our algorithms and digital applications will provide insights for necessary measures. We can thus support critical infrastructure projects in their implementation and decision-making in the long term. The benefits can be enjoyed by subject matter experts as well as the general public and future generations.”
The aim of the collaboration between the vehicle manufacturer and Dutch Min I&W is to build on existing resources and create added value through individual solutions tailored to specific needs. This not only benefits the road maintenance services, but can also make traffic situations safer for citizens.
As part of the Road Monitor programme, Mercedes-Benz Urban Mobility Solutions will provide the Dutch Min I&W with a data dashboard. This will enable potential accident blackspots to be identified before collisions even occur. The company has already proven the effectiveness of this system in a pilot project with Transport for London (TfL). The approach is now being extended in the Netherlands. The basis for this is so-called “near-accident data”: This involves analysing anonymised ADAS data to identify specific locations where driver assistance systems react particularly frequently. In combination with other public data sources and existing historical data on accident events, this information can provide city planners with targeted insights for the improvement and development of the infrastructure. In this way, the safety of all road users can be increased equally – whether car drivers, two-wheeled cyclists or pedestrians. In addition, the system can evaluate the effectiveness of infrastructure measures already taken.
In the area of winter management, the vehicle manufacturer combines anonymised Car-to-X data with information from external sources – for example, from static weather stations of the Dutch road authorities. In this way, unfavourable road conditions can be detected in real time. If the ESP or ABS sensors detect low grip on the road, for example, the anonymised data including the associated GPS position is sent to the Mercedes-Benz Vehicle Cloud via the mobile phone network. After processing, the information can then be transmitted to digital maps and dashboards in the road maintenance centres. In this way, they enable the rapid and effective deployment of the necessary resources. This method for the early detection of risks has already been tested by Mercedes-Benz in an area particularly affected by winter road conditions. According to Mercedes-benz, the result is that it improves road safety and can help to protect the environment through the targeted and needs-based use of road salt and grit.
Another important aspect for the Road Monitor programme is the IT front end, the so-called Mercedes Benz Data Dashboard. In cooperation with the Dutch authorities, Mercedes-Benz Urban Mobility Solutions will visualise the results of the data analysis there, tailored to the specific needs.
No dedicated fleet of measurement vehicles will be used for the project; rather, the data from real vehicles in daily road traffic will be used for this purpose. The data is anonymised; it is not possible to trace it back to an individual vehicle, Daimler emphasises. In addition, data is only transmitted after the vehicle owner has given their prior consent via the “Mercedes me” app.