Mobileye a maker of vision-based automotive technology, says it believes data collected from sensors could help urban planners and transportation officials identify trouble spots and prevent future accidents at the same location.
"We can use big data to send all the alerts and near-miss alerts back to the cloud and build a map showing where all the alerts spots happen, and that's a tool for planners to use," said Amnon Shashua, chief technology officer at the Israel-based company. "You can better plan based on data, not base decisions on design or pre-thinking."
Traffic fatalities are climbing in the United States, and the increases are sharpest among road users outside the car. Safety advocates are searching for answers, and a prominent one believes Mobileye's "Shield +" technology could play a role in developing smarter cities in the future. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the DOT would partner with the company on bringing the technology to municipal buses.
Last month, Foxx announced the creation of the "Smart City Challenge," a $40 million award to one American city that proposes a plan which best uses data and technology to shape its future mobility. In Las Vegas on Thursday, he said the winning city will have Mobileye's sensors installed on its entire bus fleet. He said the system was one example of how data can be a "game-changer" in urban planning. "I think data will create a renaissance in the way cities began to play," he said. "It will give us a much better idea of what will actually get us from one place to another."
Foxx's comments came amid a sprawling discussion on the convergence of transportation and technology that touched on autonomous cars, electric vehicles, urban population growth and public policy. He conceded that the federal government needed to move at an accelerated pace to vet new transportation technology and be more nimble in its standards to reap the benefits, particularly in paving the way for self-driving cars. Cities must complete their applications by February 4, and the DOT will select five finalists in March.
Mobileye has already played a prominent role in automotive technology already on the road. Its technology helps power the Tesla Motors' "Autopilot" system which arrived in certain Model S vehicles in October. Basic elements of its Shield + technology have already been used in commercial vehicles, and the company says it has resulted in a 39 percent decrease in overall collisions for its customers.
The system provides both visual and audible warnings as much as two seconds in advance of an impending collision with either a pedestrian or cyclist. Sensors discern whether an object is a pedestrian by detecting limbs and body movement. Shashua anticipates that data would be sent to transportation planners through a cloud-based network.