Data from thousands of Dutch Mercedes drivers will be used to gather information on the status of roads and help to identify hazardous traffic spots. Mercedes has won a two-year contract with the Ministery of Transport and Public Works, making the info from its cars on the road readily available for the authorities and subcontractors.
Specialists from Mercedes will work together with IenW to help identify worn-out asphalt and other infrastructural wear on the Dutch roads network. The sensor system of connected Mercedes models, comprising ultrasound, radar, stereo cameras, and Car2X, captures this information and sends it to the cloud, where it is gathered and analyzed. The data transfers occur anonymously and are compliant with the privacy ruling, underscores Mercedes.
The real-time feedback will be stored on a digital platform called Romo (Road Monitor), accessible to subcontractors. They can precisely read out where cars react on cracks, where hard braking occurs, where grip is partly lost, etc.
The platform aims at facilitating the work of inspectors, who usually have to go out on the roads and perform visual checks by themselves. Romo must enhance servicing of the Dutch road network.
The collaboration extends to winter and safety management since these data can also detect skiddy surfaces and accident black spots. Mercedes has previous experience and know-how in this field. It already ran a pilot project in the Alps, in German Zollernalb, to detect snow and ice on the roads to quickly inform service vehicles for more efficient sanding and salting.
Identifying risky spots
As for safety, Mercedes will be gathering ADAS data from ‘near accidents’. It wants to pinpoint locations where its active safety systems regularly avoid a collision, often in urban areas, so that authorities can identify and resolve these blackspots faster. This should help city planners to redesign areas making them less risky. Each spot gets a risk score in a dedicated digital dashboard, compiling a priority list.
Daniel Deparis, Head of Urban Mobility Solutions at Mercedes, commented: “Intelligent road monitoring marks an important step forward for Mercedes-Benz in our goal to be ‘Lead in-car software’. We are making an important contribution to overall road safety in the Netherlands.”
The Dutch collaboration between the government and Mercedes is a reference project. After conclusion, it will be presented as best practice to the European Union.