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breakthrougH Intelligent maps and GeograpHic tools for the context-aWAredeliverY of e-safety and added-value services

Exploitable results

Road safety is a major concern for all of us. Although things have improved in recent years, the number of road fatalities is still unacceptably high in the European Union. In 2000, road accidents killed over 40 000 people in the European Union and injured more than 1.7 million. The Highway project was launched in order to offer higher safety and location-based value added services where interactions between the person in control, the vehicle and the information infrastructure are addressed in an integrated way. Highway, through the combination of smart real-time maps, UMTS 3G mobile technology, positioning systems and intelligent agent technology, 2D/3D spatial tools and speech synthesis/voice recognition interfaces will provide European car drivers and pedestrians with eSafety services and at the point of need interaction with multimedia (text, audio, images, real-time video, voice/graphics) and value-added location-based services. The system sends up-to-the-minute information on driving conditions, accidents, traffic jams and road works to drivers' on-borad devices and/or mobile phones. The driver can also receive suggestions of alternative, safer courses to follow, accompanied by the same up-to-date information service, meaning that road-users are aware of the obstacles on their paths and are thus less likely to be involved in accidents. The system works by integrating smart real-time maps, modern mobile phone technology, positioning systems, 2D/3D spatial tools and speech/voice recognition interfaces. Before setting off on a journey, the driver will send the coordinates of his or her location and destination via the Global positioning system (GPS). The service then fetches an up-to-date map of the route with road conditions, accidents, traffic jams and road works information superimposed. The GPS then relays information between the driver and the service, which will provide up-to-date map and traffic lane information at intervals of 5 to 10 minutes for the remaining part of the journey. In addition to supplying information such as road obstacles and traffic jams from its tele-atlas database, the system will also provide information on the likelihood of a sudden deterioration in driving conditions due to changing weather conditions. In addition to decreasing the probability for accidents and minimising potential damage to drivers and property, HIGHWAY services will be more cost-effective, efficient (saving time to customers) and informative (e.g., better informing travellers who can have difficulty discovering what is available or on offer in an area they arrive). The prototype of the traffic information service developed by the project has been successfully tested on the motorway linking the Finnish cities of Turku and Helsinki. In another part of the project, the communications company Motorola and the car manufacturer Fiat along with Netxcalibur will be testing a comparable traffic information service in the Italian city of Turin.