Nine finalists named in hunt for new ways to tackle hazards on National Highways’ roads

Nine innovative new ideas which could help manage hazards on motorways and major A roads have been selected by National Highways to receive up to £90,000 funding to develop their concepts and improve safety.
It follows the launch of a competition by National Highways to find new ways to help protect road users by better managing hazards.

The winning ideas include using 3D radar technology to predict weather-related road hazards, AI road monitoring technology that can be used by traffic control centres, traffic officers or in inspector vehicles and virtual reality training courses for drivers.

National Highways is working with Connected Places Catapult on the Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator. The shortlisted organisations will now get funding of £15,000 to £30,000 to design their trials. The projects will then be whittled down to five and those projects awarded up to £60,000 to deliver their trials.

“We reached out to find new and innovative ways to help improve the safety of people who use or work on our roads – and we weren’t disappointed. We had some fantastic submissions and it wasn’t easy whittling the list down to nine.

“But we are very optimistic that these schemes will be able to improve safety and help prevent people coming to harm on our roads. I look forward to seeing these ideas develop.”
National Highways’ Technology Programme Portfolio Manager, James Gibson

Hazards might include potholes and subsidence, flooding and extreme weather, obstructions, unsafe driving behaviour and incidents on the road network.

The nine projects being taken forward are:

  • Esitu Solutions (based in Nottingham): Esitu Solutions will be developing a virtual reality training course as a downloadable app for the Meta Quest headset to promote safer and more considerate driving
  • VESOS, (Devon): VESOS developed TeCall to harvest eCall data automatically sent after collisions. TeCall fuses other hazard alerts, adds vehicle make and model, propulsion and can identify if vulnerable drivers are on board
  • PRAM (Dublin): An integrated solution that predicts weather-related and surface condition hazards on the network and is based on 3D radar technology widely used in the automotive industry
  • VivaCity (London): VivaCity’s sensors provide data on interactions between road users, enabling a proactive response to an increased rate of near misses
  • Roadside Technologies (Chesterfield): Roadside Technologies is developing an automated hazardous object detection solution using the latest in sensing technology, to improve road user safety and enable smoother journeys through temporary work zones on roads.
  • CrossTech (Wiltshire): CrossTech has developed a stopped vehicle detection verification system. The platform builds on the automated computer vision inspection platform from the rail industry, called Hubble.
  • Route Reports (London): A video analytics-based road monitoring device that can be fitted to any National Highways vehicle in order to automatically detect hazards.
  • TransPix, (Hull): TransPix uses video analytics and computer vision technology to improve road and workplace safety by detecting complex behaviours and hazards
  • Valerann, (London): Valerann’s AI real-time road data analytics platform fuses data from a broad range of data sources to deliver road traffic situation insights and accidents risk modelling, improving road traffic authorities’ situational awareness and empowering them to take accurate, actionable and timely decisions.

The competition particularly targeted small or medium enterprises that may not have worked with National Highways before and could have, as yet undiscovered, innovation gems to share around dealing with hazards.

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

“We’re very pleased to be working alongside National Highways to support these small businesses to develop proposals to trial their technologies. By bridging the gap between small businesses and large infrastructure clients we’re able to support the development of fresh ideas and support the commercialisation of new technologies.”
Erika Lewis, Chief Executive Officer at Connected Places Catapult
National Highways Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator
File Type: pdfFile size: 1.6MB

Further information:

The applications could offer a completely novel approach to the issue, apply existing technologies in new areas or develop new technologies for existing areas. The innovations had to fall within one of the following 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.
  • 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 – we want to identify and accelerate any innovations which could reduce unsafe driving behaviour such as using mobile phones at the wheel.