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The future of improved road safety

Driven in part by 5G and advanced fleet management technology, Erin Cave, vice president of product management at Verizon Connect, shares where road safety is headed.

U.S. drivers hit the road for a record-setting 3.225 trillion vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) in 2018, an increase of 12.2 billion miles from the previous year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. Much of that traffic can be attributed to commercial vehicles as the need for cargo and delivery services is also on the rise. Demand for freight was higher in 2017 and 2018 than ever before. In December 2018 the Freight Transportation Services Index was up 9.8 percent from December 2016, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

When more vehicles travel more miles, traffic congestion swells and can cause difficulties estimating travel times, increased fuel consumption, delays for emergency response vehicles and safety risks for drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017 the injury rate per 100 million VMT was 85—more than 2.7 million people were injured and 37,133 fatalities.

New technology continues to make vehicles safer and smarter—exciting innovations are available now and in the near future.

Smart Tracking

Advanced GPS tracking and fleet management systems enable near real-time data insights into the exact locations and speeds of fleet vehicles. This enables fleet managers to quickly reroute drivers around road closures, hazards and heavy traffic. Drivers can also be dispatched to new jobs as orders come in throughout the work day. These features help to improve the safety and efficiency of fleets on the road.

Fleet management systems help users manage huge amounts of data collected from on-vehicle sensors. They intelligently interpret that data and convert it into easy-to-understand reporting and alerts.

Smart Video

When harsh driving events such as hard braking, hard acceleration and hard cornering occur, advanced fleet management systems send near real-time notifications to users. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), smart video solutions can also deliver short video clips of the event—giving users visual context. Smart video monitoring can also help identify ways to improve driver habits and help prevent drivers and businesses from being held wrongly liable for traffic incidents.

AI enables smart video solutions to automatically analyze vast amounts of data generated by video, to assess and classify driving incidents and provide automated alerts with detailed reports. Smart analysis of video data that provides details of exact speed, timing, position and location of accidents helps to prevent similar accidents from happening in the future.

5G

5G will drastically increase the volume and speed of data traveling through mobile networks, enabling a more intelligent infrastructure and propelling existing smart vehicle technologies to the next level. With the potential to supercharge everything from video feeds and sensors to real-time data analysis, 5G will usher in new possibilities in transportation and traffic management, autonomous mobility and road safety.

Building on the smart video technologies available today, the increased bandwidth offered by 5G will enable a vast network of connected cameras not only on vehicles, but also on our roads. Combined with the processing power of cloud computing, intelligent systems will be able to use vehicle and surrounding video data for predictive routing, real-time road hazard and accident alerts, and much more. This will help revolutionize real-time vehicle tracking and routing, while improving safety for road users.

The network speeds, bandwidth and low latency offered by 5G, together with increasing vehicle automation and AI-driven insights, move us forward toward a better future for fleets and road users.

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