New accelerator seeks innovators with ideas to manage road hazards

Funding of up to £90,000 is available to small and medium sized companies with technologies that could improve safety on National Highways’ roads, by better managing hazards.

Up to 10 companies with ideas to help protect road users in England by better managing hazards on motorways and major A roads will be shortlisted early next year in a new innovation competition from National Highways delivered by Connected Places Catapult.

Launched today, the Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator programme is seeking applications for either completely novel approaches to the issue, the application of existing technology in new areas, or the development of new technology for existing areas.

Applications are invited until the end of December, and innovations must fall within one of the following five categories:

Gathering data about hazards on roads: technologies which contribute to identifying and gathering data on hazards such as CCTV data, analytics, satellite and in-car data including GPS and vehicle sensors

Streamlining hazard responses: helping to respond quickly and accurately to any identified hazard. Solutions could include automatically alerting drivers, automated responses and clean-up of hazards and notifying professionals such as traffic officers

Improving driver notification of hazards: better notification to drivers when a hazard is identified or – for planned roadworks – making sure drivers are aware and know how to safely navigate them.

Improving testing of hazard detection technology: this aims to assess the real-world performance of any technology, enabling smoother software updates and also to generate datasets on hazard detection performance.

Influencing drivers to reduce unsafe behaviour: innovations which could reduce unsafe driving behaviour such as using mobile phones.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to help improve the safety of people who use or work on our roads. In this competition, we are particularly targeting small or medium enterprises that may not have worked with us before and could have, as yet undiscovered, innovation gems to share with us around improving hazard protection.”
National Highways’ Head of Strategy Implementation, James Gibson
“This accelerator competition seeks out the very best technological solutions to improve the management of hazards on the strategic road network. We are delighted to be working with National Highways on this programme, and look forward to hearing from companies about new ways in which safety could be enhanced, and together making a lasting impact on safety in the highways sector.”
Connected Places Catapult’s Ecosystem Director for Integrated Infrastructure, Dr Chris Jones

Applicants have until midnight on 31 December to submit their ideas, after which judges will select up to 10 finalists to take their designs forward – with funding of between £15,000 and £30,000 each to develop their ideas.

The submissions will then be whittled down to five, with those projects awarded up to £60,000 to deliver their trials over a five month period.

All 10 finalists will be guided through a bespoke programme tailored to their requirements offering coaching and mentoring, business development opportunities and technical and procurement support.

The competition is open to small or medium sized enterprises with less than 250 employees.