The World Health Organisation predicts that if current trends continue, road traffic injuries could
possibly end up as the number three contributor to the global burden of disease and injury by
Just last year, road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death among children aged 5-14
and young adults aged 15-29. This is quite overwhelming considering the majority, if not all,
countries don’t allow people under the age of 17 to practice driving. What does this tell us? – It
tells us that out of the millions of people that have died in road incidents over the years, a large
proportion of those aren’t even driving a car!
Fortunately, it’s not all bad news as recent newly implemented legislations in the road safety
sector steers course for change.
Road management authorities will now be required to take into account the safety of vulnerable
road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists and changes have also been made to EU’s
General Safety Regulation for motor vehicles. These changes will mean that within the next
three years in-vehicle technologies will have to be implemented into all newly built vehicles, they
include Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection, overridable
Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) and Emergency Lane Keeping.
It’s a step forward in the right direction, however, some studies are starting to show that there
are environmental factors that can also participate in road traffic crashes. In fact, for a large
percentage of the time, road traffic crashes happen to good drivers under bad conditions and
many black spots still remain invisible to the good majority of road users.
Artificial Intelligence has the ability to significantly reduce the number of annual road traffic
crashes that occur and make the overall driver experience safer for everyone affected. Machine
learning methods are currently being leveraged to learn past historical accident data and study
the environments in which they happened. By doing so, the technology is better able to
understand their causes which enables it to assess each environments incident likelihood.
With this added knowledge many tech startups have begun pushing boundaries with predictive
solutions, hoping to completely change the automotive infrastructure.
Smarter, safer vehicles
Innovation and new technologies are paving the way for the commercial use of driverless cars
with some countries making preparations for more use of autonomous vehicles by 2021. Many
large car manufacturers, including Volvo who will start shipping self-driving cars to Uber this
year, have moved on from test driving smaller vehicles to testing driverless lorries connected to
a Wi-Fi network.
There are some limitations to autonomous vehicles that may further delay a world occupied by
self-driving cars. There have been reports that the Lidar Units which scan the environment can
sometimes be obscured due to heavy snow, rain or fog. It’s has also been reported that the selfdriving cars themselves are often confused by human drivers’ and pedestrians’ sometimes illogical behavior; double-parking or randomly walking out in front of the cars!
Everything takes time, the aim of the test drives has been to teach the AI solutions better ways
of adapting to these situations and to try and eliminate the road accidents usually caused by
human error. Theoretically, as the AI gets smarter, the results will improve over time.
New mobility applications have leveraged predictive AI solutions in order to highlight accident
prone areas and alert users when entering the accident zones. It is believed that fewer
accidents would occur if drivers were more cautious in these areas when navigating on the
Efficient accident management
Multiple mapping companies are using AI solutions to combat the sporadic nature of road traffic
crashes with their predictive road incident maps. With its use, road management teams will be
able to better situate emergency services and accident response teams to reduce their
response times by 10/12 minutes.
Artificial Intelligence is still a very new technology but one that has continuously proven its value
in a range of different fields. It’s fast becoming part of new industries all over the globe with
more and more countries welcoming its services and acknowledging the life-changing benefits
that could be implemented into existing infrastructures.
Still, there’s some cause for concern. The new technology may have an impact on employment
leaving many individuals out of a job, plus, science fiction films have warned us of futures where
we are enslaved and hunted by our own technological creations…
Well, the second point borders the line of conspiracy delusion, but the first may become a
worrisome reality. Unemployment isn’t a joke and the people making a modest living as fleet/taxi
drivers aren’t being overly paranoid if they begin to raise concern.
The allure of technology and innovation does tend to draw people in and they can sometimes
fail to foresee the damage that may occur in the future. As AI is implemented to help manage
road safety, it should also be monitored, and watched with a wary eye to make sure that our
over exuberance for technology doesn’t blur its ultimate vision – accident reduction.