On Monday 30 January, the Dutch Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) launched the Smart In Car trial. A new trial for NXP Semiconductors, in cooperation with IBM, Beijer Automotive, NOKIA, TASS, Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, TNO, ANWB, CibaTax, KPN and the Dutch Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management. The trial is expected to improve traffic flow and increase traffic safety. The new technology will help the region of Eindhoven to monitor and report dangerous road conditions in real time and warn drivers in the vicinity to avoid accidents.
Traffic must be seen as a system where individual actions can have major consequences for the system as a whole. Research has shown that small disturbances very quickly lead to full-blown traffic jams. For example, traffic jams often occur when one car breaks firmly, forcing the cars behind to break as well, causing a chain reaction that can impact the entire traffic system. Sudden breaking is often a result of bad road conditions caused by holes, loose stones or ice.
Today automobiles, and the roads they are driving on, are equipped with thousands of sensors. Cars are increasingly connected and create a vast amount of data that can be used to improve traffic conditions and driving experience. For example, currently sensors in cars alert drivers via their dashboard for low tire pressure, broken lights, or engine failures. Also, heavy breaking (ABS), strong acceleration and slippery roads will be registered by these sensors. To monitor traffic density road sensors, mobile phone data and data from navigation devices are already used.
What will we do?
NXP Semiconductors, IBM and its partners will equip all participating cars with a device, containing the NXP ATOP chip that gathers relevant data from the central communication system of the car (CAN-bus). This device bundles and translates all relevant car sensor data anonymously before sending it to an IBM Smart Traffic Center, along with GPS location data. IBM will use sophisticated analytics on car data to inform drivers and road authorities about dangerous road conditions, accidents or growing traffic density in real-time. The system reduces the number of accidents, time to clear the roads and related congestion. What is unique about the project is that by using Beijer Automotive technology, we can read these CAN-bus signals from over 90% of all existing cars on the road today.
Benefit for Traffic authorities
The anonymous information from the IBM Smart Traffic Center enables local traffic authorities to resolve road network issues (holes in the road, oil on the road, black ice). By receiving the information in real time, road authorities can act faster and immediately deploy emergency response teams and road workers to resolve issues. Traffic centres staff can promptly respond and manage traffic flows away from accidents and dangerous roads.
Benefit for Commuters
Commuters in the Eindhoven region with a Smartphone or connected navigation device can improve benefits from the trial by receiving personal information based on their specific location about road conditions in their vicinity. This information from the IBM Smart Traffic Centre will also be available for car navigation systems and Smartphone’s via the new SMART-In-Car App. With this App, commuters will be able to get real time notifications about dangerous traffic conditions ahead, slippery roads, accidents and roadwork. The first 10.000 installations will be provided for free.
Participation of cab company / fleet owners
A large cab company in the Region of Eindhoven, Cibatax, and the ANWB (Road Side Assistance service), will also participate in the pilot to better understand how they can improve their quality of service, efficiency and proactively maintain their fleet of vehicles. More than 100 cabs and 100 service cars of the ANWB will be equipped with a special on board unit for this project. This unit is connected to the Tass and IBM Smarter Traffic Center and gives the cab company and ANWB real time information on vehicle data and route data. This will help them proactively detect and repair issues, help improve driving patterns of the fleet and individual drivers, increase fuel efficiency and minimise environmental impact. The cab drivers will receive feedback on optimised safety and eco driving.
The Trial is another major milestone of NXP strategy to connect the car, click here for more information.
Successes in the past
This trial is one of several initiatives the Collaborative Region of Eindhoven (SRE) has begun to improve traffic flow in the region around Eindhoven. In an earlier six-month road pricing trial, also conducted by IBM and NXP, advanced congestion charge technology was successfully used to incentivize drivers to change their driving behavior. This reduced traffic congestion and contributed to a greener environment. In fact, 70 percent of drivers changed their behaviour to avoid rush-hour travel when presented with the right incentives, demonstrating that road pricing systems can have a positive effect on driving habits and help alleviate traffic.
The deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems is done in the framework of the Beter Benutten (“improved utilization”) program, through which Dutch national, and some economically significant regional governmental authorities, in The Netherlands seek to reduce traffic congestion by 20 percent at some of the worst bottlenecks. The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment green lighted the implementation of these measures to improve traffic flow in the province of North Brabant, jointly with Brabant provincial executive member Van Heugten, and NXP’s CTO and Country Manager, Mr Penning de Vries.
The package of measures used in Brabant also includes infrastructural measures, such as improved connections, and changes to intersections. In the cities of ’s-Hertogenbosch and Helmond, digital routing information signs are placed along the roads in order to direct traffic to either bypass or go through the city centers. On some busy roads, the Spitsmijden (“peak hour avoidance”) project, which rewards participants who avoid peak traffic hours, was implemented. Expansion of bicycle parking spaces and construction of new bike lanes are designed to stimulate bicycle use in combination with travel by train. In addition, investments are made in increased cargo transport by boat.
The Brabant region will invest 71 million Euros for the total package of measures. The regional authorities will contribute around 30 million Euros, and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment will invest over 40 million Euros.
The Ministry’s Beter Benutten programme means fewer traffic jams and increased use of railways and waterways, in order to promote economic growth. National and regional authorities, along with the business community, take these innovative measures in the busiest areas in hopes of improving mobility. In addition, nationwide fiscal measures are taken in support of this venture. The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment has budgeted a total of 794 million Euros for the Beter Benutten programme. Smart choices, strong combinations.
Dutch Minister of Transport Melanie Schultz-van Haegen