Vaisala and Posti to collect road and traffic data from Finland’s postal delivery fleet

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Finnish developer of environmental and industrial measurement systems Vaisala is partnering with the country’s postal service, Posti, to gather road and traffic data that will then be processed using artificial intelligence (AI).

The partners have concluded an agreement to commercialize Vaisala’s RoadAI (Artificial Intelligence Assisted Road Infrastructure Management) system to provide a situational ‘picture’ service across Finland’s road network.

Under the agreement, while operating with its mail delivery work, Posti will provide up-to-date information about the country’s road network and environment using Vaisala’s sensors and software platform. Data will be collected from motorways and light transport roads, as well as other sites located along the delivery routes.

The data collected includes, among other things, surface damage to streets and roads, road conditions and road weather analyses, as well as mapping and monitoring of road markings.

In the future, data will also be collected about many other sites along the delivery routes, such as the condition of traffic signs and electricity poles, as well as the external condition of electricity and telecommunications boxes.

The current state of Finland’s road network requires wide-ranging repair work, and the Street Data Service provides significant help in optimizing maintenance. In the long term, the cooperation between Posti and Vaisala will also support smart traffic development projects across the country. The new data will be collected using cameras connected to Posti’s delivery vehicles, as well as Vaisala’s sensors.

The system collects data from three sources: computer vision that analyses video images, Vaisala’s precision sensors, and, in the future, observations reported by Posti employees on the road will also be collected. All analysis data is collected and processed anonymously to meet current data security standards.

“An up-to-date situational picture increases the efficiency of road maintenance, which, in turn, promotes the flow and safety of traffic and helps to reduce personal injuries and property damage. In addition, the data collected in connection with delivery work makes it possible to develop smart solutions in which the data is also sent to residents and people on the road,” said Tommi Pekkala, who is responsible for Posti’s Street Data Services.

“The comprehensiveness and timeliness of the situational picture is based on our nationwide delivery network. Our delivery and transport vehicles travel on the roads of Finland every day, often many times a day, so we can produce data very efficiently and on a broad scale. Because the data are collected in connection with normal delivery, the work does not increase the need to drive. In fact, it reduces the environmental load. The service can replace inspection rounds and visits currently carried out by customers.”

Markus Melander, who is responsible for developing Vaisala’s RoadAI service, commented, “The operating model and its development into a service are an excellent way to produce up-to-date traffic condition and road network data for use by cities. Nationwide data is valuable when connected to infrastructure asset management, situational awareness, and winter maintenance processes. The data obtained from the situational picture service are also useful for traffic management.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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