Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

FP7

HERMES Report Summary

Project reference: 315029
Funded under: FP7-SME

Final Report Summary - HERMES (Innovative, Highly Efficient Road Surface Measurement and Control System)

Executive Summary:
One of the most important aims in today’s transport systems is the security they provide.
Even though in air and rail transports we have managed to have extremely low accident and death rates, this is not the case with road transport. The majority of the EU countries are now heading towards the ‘Vision Zero’ philosophy in which road deaths become as unacceptable as they are in a factory, in the air or on a railway. However in order to reach this aim several improvements are needed in numerous area including cars, drivers and roads.

Moreover, the majority of EU citizens in a recent Pan-European survey said that road infrastructure safety should be improved as either a first or second priority towards reducing the road accidents.
Furthermore, 31% of the citizens answered that this should be the first measure that their government should focus on in order to improve road safety. In response to this demand, the Hermes project aims at improving the road infrastructure by proposing a novel road quality measurement solution based on a pioneering approach. The proposed system enables, for the first time, measurements of both the longitudinal and transversal profiles of a road to be simultaneously undertaken from a specially equipped vehicle travelling at normal road speeds and at a low infrastructure cost. This approach represents a significant advancement in the state of the art by eliminating the requirement for an inertial reference level whilst, additionally, improving accuracy of measurements by providing a solution for resolving errors otherwise resulting from the dynamics of a moving vehicle. Moreover, within Hermes the road profile measurements will be integrated with their precise geographical location while an innovative toolset for data analysis will be developed so as to allow the efficient processing of the huge amounts of data collected by the Hermes vehicles.

In general, Hermes augments the traditional road roughness indices by additionally identifying and pinpointing locations requiring urgent repair to result in improved safety for road users, while those locations can be identified with very high accuracy, low cost and at normal road speeds. This latter feature is very important since in large countries the national road network requires the measuring and maintenance of thousands of kilometers per year (e.g., in Spain, which has a road network of around 165,000 km, over 10,000 km requires to be surveyed each year) whereas, for countries in northern Europe, winter freeze/ thaw conditions result in more rapid deterioration of roads (e.g., in Norway, the complete road network of 92,800 km requires to be surveyed each year).

The project is expected to make a valuable contribution to improving the road safety throughout Europe since the highly innovative yet low cost end-product will be marketed in several countries from the Hermes partners. Moreover, the general state of many European roads raise concerns relating to comfort and safety for drivers. Drivers of commercial vehicles also report extended journey durations and much higher fuel consumption on rough roads. These factors explain the growing interest in Route Optimisation solutions. Such systems require up-to-date surveys of roads as a necessary input, thereby creating a further demand for the novel Hermes profile measurement technology. Finally, the end-system will be integrated with a high-end data-hazard system allowing for the transmission of the road condition data directly to the driver so as to react accordingly (e.g., reduce his speed).

The project enables the involved SMEs to offer new highly promising products based on innovative technologies developed within the project, thereby supporting the continuing growth of the four SMEs.

Project Context and Objectives:
Road safety is a major societal issue. In 2013, approximately 26,200 people died on the roads of the European Union, i.e., the equivalent of a medium town, and no fewer than 1,500,000 persons were injured. The cost for society is huge, representing approximately 130 billion Euro per annum.
Recent trends in road fatalities can be briefly summarised as follows:
• In 2013, slightly more than 26,000 road fatalities were reported in the EU.
• This is a decrease of around 8% compared to 2012.
• In total, there were 52 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2013 in the EU.
• The top road safety performers (lowest number of road deaths per year and million inhabitants) in 2013 were the UK, Sweden and Denmark.
• The highest number of road fatalities in 2013 was found in Romania, Latvia, Poland and Lithuania.

The Transport White Paper announced a strategic target for EU road safety for the period 2011–2020 to reduce the number of road deaths by half. In 2010, some 31,500 people lost their lives on the roads in the 28 EU Member States. This figure is the baseline for the strategy objective and the target is to have less than 15,750 road deaths in 2020. If the target is achieved, more than 90,000 lives would have been saved in total during the decade. Following a slow year in 2011, the number of road fatalities is now again substantially decreasing. The preliminary data for 2013 bring the EU development in line with the target curve.

Published data demonstrates that road death rates vary widely between different European countries.
For example, the risk of dying on a journey by car in Romania is more than 5 times higher than for the European average and, compared to UK or Sweden, as much as 10 times greater.
The same high risk situation exists in other New Member States of eastern and central Europe where there is an urgent need to improve road safety to the standards elsewhere in western Europe. Countries represented in the project by partners are strategically located in countries where road safety improvement is a priority issue, each of these represented countries having death rates well above the EU average.
Success of the EU’s 2001–2010 road programme, which is estimated to have saved over 78,000 lives, demonstrates the great potential for reduction in death rates by improvement to road infrastructures.
We now have five star cars but too many one star roads, especially in central and eastern Europe.

The Hermes project has a great synergy to the priorities identified to improve road safety, both in relation to those of the opinion poll and specific objectives defined in the road safety action programme (RSAP) for 2011–2020 - an initiative of the European Commission launched in July 2010.

As the RSAP highlights: the highest number of fatalities occurs on rural and urban roads (56% and 44%, compared to 6% on motorways). Therefore, ways should be found for gradually extending the relevant principles of safe management of infrastructure to the secondary road network of the Member States.
Hermes enables roads to be surveyed at low cost, making the system appropriate to widespread application throughout a nation’s road network, including the secondary and rural roads. In this way, limited resources can be most effectively used to improve sections of road where the greatest risks to road safety are identified.

A significant contribution to road safety is also expected from the deployment of so-called co-operative systems, where vehicles exchange data and interact with the infrastructure to have drivers optimally informed, reducing risks on accidents and making traffic flows run more smoothly overall.
The enhanced EXEHON road hazard warning system to be introduced by SME partners MobileMedia and Prometeo following completion of the project aligns with this EU policy objective by making available a co-operative system whereby drivers benefit from real-time warnings of road conditions.

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have the potential to play a considerable role for the improvement of traffic safety, for example, through the adoption of systems to detect incidents and supervise traffic that are able to provide information to road users in real time.
Within the framework of the implementation of the ITS Action Plan and of the proposed ITS Directive, the Commission have proposed technical specifications necessary to exchange data and information between vehicles (V2V), between vehicles and infrastructure (V2I) and between infrastructures (I2I).
Accelerated deployment and broad market take-up of such safety enhancing applications needs to be supported in order for their full potential to be unleashed.
Again, the EXEHON road hazard warning system has high relevance, providing an example of implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems.

The project has resulted in several technical advancements, including:
• An innovative, Transversal as well as Longitudinal, measurement methodology, that is much more accurate compared to existing systems.
• A novel embedded system executing the pioneering Longitudinal and Transversal measurement methodologies, which has a significantly lower cost than the existing systems.
• A pioneering integrated solution for road profile measurements incorporating state-of-the-art GIS techniques for accurate positioning which will drive the overall cost of running and maintaining the roads under investigation at a significantly lower level than the existing systems.
• A novel information system for data logging, data extraction and data exchange with existing relevant systems, that enables seamless integration of the new system with the existing infrastructure. Consequently, the new approach will be even more attractive to those customers wanting to also utilise part of their existing systems.
• Innovation approaches for identification of road surface defects, such as pot-holes.
• Integration with the EXEHON system to relay informational and warning messages regarding road surface conditions and hazards to road users via their mobile phones.
The exploitation plan for the end-system has been based on execution of numerous real-world field trials, in different countries, of the complete systems, in roads with a wide range of characteristics.

Based on these advancements, it is expected that the Hermes project will make a substantial contributing to improvement of safety on European roads, together with improving the comfort and convenience of road users.

Project Results:
The project is highly relevant to the SME participants, each of whom have clearly defined plans for commercialising the results.
To facilitate discussion of the project scientific and technical results, the overall Hermes system is described in terms of both the overall road measurement solution and the subsystems associated with each result, as defined in the following table.

Result 1: Longitudinal road profile measurement system
Result 2: Transversal road profile measurement system
Result 3: Mechatronics subsystem
Result 4: Data acquisition and logging electronics subsystem
Result 5: GPS/ navigation electronics subsystem
Result 6: GIS/ data visualisation software subsystem
Result 7: Feature extraction for road safety warning system

Each of these is now briefly discussed in relation to the identified markets and exploitation intentions of the SME partner result owners.

Results 1 and 2 'Longitudinal and transversal road profile measurement system' correspond to the overall integrated 3D road profile measurement system.
Each of the four SME partners will be actively involved in sales of the system, based on the geographical coverage of their sales networks.
All have established businesses offering the full range of pre- and post-sale technical support for customers and appropriate engineering facilities to install and maintain systems.

Sales will also be developed in countries and regions not represented by the participants.
This will be achieved by establishment of distribution and dealer networks.
It is expected that such networks will be operated as joint ventures between partners, the specific details being defined in the partnership's Consortium Agreement.

From the perspective of the national road adminstration organisations, Hermes offers an ideal cost-effective solution for scheduling and prioritising of maintenance works, in order to allocate limited available funds with maximum technical and economic efficiency.
Used in association with existing Pavement Management Systems, Hermes provides the required tools to collect and analyse the necessary measurement data relating to the condition of the roads network on which the management decisions are dependent.
End-users of the measurement system will benefit from the ability to conduct more comprehensive surveys, resulting in reduced road maintenance costs.
Ability to perform the measurements using a vehicle travelling at the normal speed of traffic flow will avoid frustrations and delays for motorists who will benefit from a more comfortable and safer journey.

Four of the defined results relate to particular subsystems of the overall Hermes system:
Result 3: Mechatronics subsystem
Result 4: Data acquisition and logging electronics
Result 5: GPS/ navigation electronics subsystem
Result 6: GIS/ data visualisation software

Certain partners will supply particular components and sub-assemblies for the complete system and thereby benefit indirectly from sales of each system sold, in addition to directly from their own sales of systems to end users.
For example, Ardoran will supply the GPS navigation module and Wing Computer the GIS software.
Equally, it is expected that resources will be combined to source, manufacture and integrate components of the overall system on a central purchasing and supply basis, for the benefit of all partners.

In addition to exploiting the project results by direct sales of the Hermes profile measurement system to end users, Greek SME partner MobileMedia is additionally intending to benefit from use of project result 7 'Feature extraction for road safety hazard warning system' to enhance its EXEHON road-hazard avoidance system. Spanish partner Prometeo will also be involved in this activity, to the mutual benefit of both SMEs.
The intention is that Prometeo will act as distributor in Spain and Portugal for the Greek company’s existing EXEHON system, whilst also promoting sales of the added-value hazard-warning functionality based on integration of road condition data with the system.

In summary, the overall achievements in the project represent a considerable advancement of the state of the art in respect of road profiling and surface condition measurements, including the innovative road hazard warning systems and will augment the existing offering of the commercial partners.
In particular very useful and sophisticated features, such as automated pot-hole detection, which are not available from any similar existing or proposed competitive system, are now available for the benefit of road survey and maintenance organisations.

Potential Impact:
There are numerous distinct market areas where the overall Hermes system, as well as certain of its subsystems, will be exploited and in different EU countries.

The expected success of the end products, as defined by the detailed business plan included in the participating SMEs' plan for the use and dissemination of knowledge, is based on the innovative aspects, as well as the low cost, of the end-results of this project.

In particular, the project has resulted in:
• An innovative, Transversal as well as Longitudinal, measurement methodology, that is much more accurate compared to existing systems.
• A novel embedded system executing the pioneering Longitudinal and Transversal measurement methodologies, which has a significantly lower cost than the existing systems.
• A pioneering integrated solution for road profile measurements incorporating state-of-the-art GIS techniques for accurate positioning which will drive the overall cost of running and maintaining the roads under investigation at a significantly lower level than the existing systems.
• A novel information system for data logging, data extraction and data exchange with existing relevant systems, that enables seamless integration of the new system with the existing infrastructure. Consequently, the new approach will be even more attractive to those customers wanting to also utilise part of their existing systems.
• Innovation approaches for identification of road surface defects, such as pot-holes.
• Integration with the EXEHON system to relay informational and warning messages regarding road surface conditions and hazards to road users via their mobile phones.
The exploitation plan for the end-system has been based on execution of numerous real-world field trials, in different countries, of the complete systems, in roads with a wide range of characteristics.

The consortium has already been in contact with important end-users — such as Attikes Diadromes in Greece, which is running a large privately-operated motorway, and the local public authorities in Estonia, Romania and Spain, which have extensive road networks; all these end-users are very interested in the successful results achieved in the field trials and in using the systems for their future road surveys.

List of Websites:
Project website:
www.hermesroadmeasurement.eu

Project Coordinator:
Ardoran OÜ
Heltermaa
Pühalepa vald
Hiiumaa 92312
Estonia
+372 56 615936

Contact person:
Douglas Reid
douglas.reid@hiiumaa.ee

Contact

Savastru, Dan (Head of Department)
Tel.: +40 214575757
Fax: +40 214574522
E-mail
Record Number: 184259 / Last updated on: 2016-06-02
Information source: SESAM