Video Analytics will make our “smart” roads safer

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New, internet-connected car models and prototypes are making headlines and improving our lives, but what about connecting the roads themselves to the net?

CCTV and speed cameras are everywhere in our highway infrastructures. The operating systems of these sensors have been designed to detect abnormal behaviour on the roads, but to programme these systems first we need to define what constitutes unusual or abnormal behaviour on the roads. The emergence of video analytics technologies allows for more efficient programming of these systems. The camera “learns” what normal traffic flow looks like, and with this “knowledge” can autonomously detect abnormal events, much like the operation of a human brain.

Incorporating video analytics systems in our roads will make them more efficient and user-friendly. For example, a video camera will be capable of detecting a crossing pedestrian and predict his or her crossing speed after determining if the person is elderly or disabled. Furthermore, it will be possible to connect traffic lights to video analytics systems, and allow that person to cross safely by lengthening or shortening the duration of the lights as needed. In effect, the road’s “smart systems” will be able to respond in real-time to the flow of pedestrians.

Another example of effective use of video analytics will be making roads safer for cyclists. Cameras scanning intersections will be able to perform advanced analysis to detect and predict potential movement between cycle paths and motorised-traffic lanes. A warning sign will be shown on a display by the side of the road to alert drivers of potential problems, thus assisting the prevention of accidents. Truck drivers also will benefit from this development, as the field of view from a truck’s cabin is severely limited. The autonomous capability of such systems to predict collisions will significantly reduce the volume of motor vehicle accidents.

While our highways are becoming “smarter”, video analytics systems will make them safer. Seems like we will not need to teach our children how to help grandma cross the road.

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