Thursday 4 June 2020

Poor signage blamed for bridge strikes

Drivers may be being unfairly blamed for some bridge strike incidents, when poor signage could well be an important factor.

Speaking to journalists before the opening of the company’s annual road transport conference, Nadeem Raza, the chief executive officer of telematics company Microlise, said that the company was working on a driver app which could be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet to warn drivers when they were approaching these hazards.

It was surprising that there was no complete nationwide database of low bridges, although an average of four bridge strike incidents were recorded every day, with vehicles that were too tall to pass under bridges.

The company was analysing video clips taken from Microlise connected vehicles involved in such incidents to see why they had occurred.

“We were interested to find out why it was not obvious that the vehicle was going to strike the bridge,” Mr Raza said.

“The biggest cause that we could find was that drivers simply don’t see the warning signs. The most-frequently hit bridges have obscured height warning signs and too many other distracting signs in the immediate vicinity.”

This was an example of how the company was using artificial intelligence to learn from what happens on the road. It was able to aggregate data collected from 210,000 drivers of Microlise-connected vehciles, and this could be used to develop adaptive learning, providing training tailored to the needs of individual vehicles.

Mr Raza confirmed that Microlise was working to integrate its telematics into the RIO system: RIO being the telematics arm of Traton, the company that owns MAN and Scania. Microlise currently provides its own telematics hardware for MAN, while Scania offers an in-house solution.

“Microlise is primarily a software business,” he explained. “But we also make hardware to run our software. But we are working with MAN and RIO, and some other OEMs, to put our software on their hardware.”

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