Keeping a better eye on road traffic violators
Watch out drivers! An innovative device will make it harder for you to speed and drive without wearing a seatbelt. The device is a product of the ASSET-ROAD ('Advanced safety and driver support for essential road transport') project, which clinched EUR 6.15 million under the Transport (including aeronautics) Theme of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to boost traffic safety and curb accidents triggered by traffic rule violations.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, an ASSET-ROAD partner, developed this novel tool, which also measures distances between vehicles, calculates traffic emissions and evaluates road surface conditions. Production for part of the equipment will begin after 2011.
In a statement, the VTT Technical Research Centre said the equipment is based on automatic camera surveillance and wireless network technology. One of the best features of this equipment is that it is located on a mobile trailer unit. This gives the police the means to monitor traffic and penalise any traffic offenders justly and systematically.
The information collected is compiled into a common database used by the police, environmental officials and road operators. Officials in the southern Finnish city of Tampere trialled the system, allowing the police to test the device.
The researchers said their objective is to develop the test equipment to match the needs of the police as much as possible. Mr Jarmo Puustinen of the National Traffic Police summarised the needs of the Finnish police force as: political will; good enforcement equipment for better productivity; cooperation with manufacturers and users ('road design and car design go hand in hand'); and mobility which is a function of safety ('no safety, no functionality'). Mr Puustinen pointed out that the three major killers on European roads are speeding, drink driving and failure to use seat belts.
Technical solutions and firewalls are used to safeguard the database. According to the team, images that are more than a month old as well as images that are free from any traffic violations are destroyed automatically. Once the test phase is over, the surveillance technology will be transferred from the test trailer to police cars. The full technology will be brought to market in three years' time.
The VTT Technical Research Centre said ASSET-ROAD is operating four test sites (Germany, France, Austria and Finland). The Finnish test site is budgeted at some EUR 270,000. The German test site is tackling integrated safety, the French test site is developing GNSS (global navigation satellite systems)-based safety applications, and the Austrian test site is working on a research and development (R&D) testbed module.
The VTT Technical Research Centre is working together with the National Traffic Police and the local service operator Emtele Oy to develop the Finnish test equipment.
'The main intention is to support traffic police to supervise that the drivers follow traffic rules such as wearing seat belts, preventing over-speeding and maintaining sufficient distance to the front vehicle,' explained Dr Matti Kutila from VTT Technical Research Centre. 'This of course is beneficial for road safety.'
The ASSET-ROAD consortium consists of 19 partners (research institutes, universities, industry and small and medium-sized enterprises) from 10 EU Member States as well as India and Tanzania.
Category: Project results
Data Source Provider: VTT Technical Research Centre; ASSET-ROAD
Document Reference: Based on information from VTT Technical Research Centre
Subject Index: Safety; Coordination, Cooperation; Scientific Research; Electronics, Microelectronics; Transport; Business aspects; Materials Technology