Providing The Platform For Road Safety

By Mithun T. Dhar | 03 June 2019

Safety First! That’s the message from a group of carmakers, technology providers and road operators, which today announced they are joining forces in a European data-sharing initiative aimed at reducing road traffic deaths.

Modern vehicles scan the physical world, classifying everything they see. Their cameras detect traffic, lane closures and accidents. Radar helps suspension systems pre-empt potholes. And tire traction readings give feedback about the road surface.

For a chunk of metal moving at speed these enhanced sensory abilities are a godsend, helping cars adjust their driving strategy on the fly and aiding the driver when needed.

The utility of all that data doesn’t end there though: it can also be passed on, via the cloud, to other drivers, alerting them to potentially dangerous situations on the road.

Sharing data like this is nothing new. Almost all carmakers have been doing this in some form within their own fleets for years. More recently, the HERE Open Location Platform has begun powering services built with data pooled from different car brands. The safety benefits are obvious – with a greater density of data, drivers benefit from more precise and reliable information.

Well, today brings the news of a new European initiative that also embraces this approach. It’s called ‘Data for Road Safety’ and it sees car manufacturers, road operators and technology providers, including HERE, join forces to share safety-related data gathered from vehicles and road infrastructure.

Data for Road Safety was outlined on Monday afternoon at a high-level roundtable of the EU Data Task Force in Eindhoven. Coming on the eve of this year’s ITS European Congress, the project launch is designed to send a strong message about the importance of sharing data to improve road safety.

HERE is one of the 11 founding partners of the project, working alongside the likes of Ford, Volvo, BMW and Daimler. We’ll begin participating in the initiative in the role of data aggregator, but also explore how we can get involved as a service provider too. Our deep experience building services from vehicle sensor data will come in handy.

“We have shown that the technology is both commercially ready and globally available,” said our CFO Peter Meier who represented HERE at today’s Eindhoven roundtable.

“Now the focus is on more industry players coming together in the spirit of collaboration to create truly scaled data services where, eventually, drivers of any brand of car can benefit from the experiences of others on the road.”

He continued: “We welcome the ‘Data for Road Safety’ initiative as a catalyst for further collaboration and look forward to contributing to its success.” 

OLP Marketplace: supporting OEMs and transport agencies in new road safety push

HERE is well placed to help automakers and transport agencies in a data-driven safety push. The HERE OLP is a collaborative location platform and home to global-scale location data, tools and services. It also integrates the world’s first global location data exchange, HERE OLP Marketplace, enabling data providers to unlock value from their data by making it available to others.

To help promote an open data ecosystem to improve road safety, HERE today announced that it is committing to make European safety-related data distributed under a Creative Commons license (CC) accessible to Marketplace data consumers at no cost to them. Such data could come from road infrastructure and vehicles. BMW cars, for example.

Today, BMW Group revealed that it will be the first carmaker to make a set of live safety-related data from its European fleet available through the Marketplace. The data, planned to be available from July 1, will include anonymized information collected by BMW and MINI cars, such as that related to slippery roads, poor visibility or broken-down cars.

For our CEO Edzard Overbeek, today’s news underscores the opportunity for HERE to play a key role in bringing the industry together. “Through the OLP, HERE is creating a vibrant ecosystem where data can be exchanged to create applications and solutions that benefit people and society at large,” he said.

“Traffic safety is a fundamental societal need and requires industry-wide collaboration that we are pleased to facilitate. We commend BMW Group in taking the initiative, and invite others to join this effort.”