Netherlands project to use vehicle sensor data for ‘smart’ road management

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A collaborative project in the Netherlands province of Noord-Brabant is aiming to use data gathered by passenger cars to make road management and maintenance in the region ‘smart’.

The data that sensors in modern cars gather contains important information about the quality of road surfaces or weather and traffic conditions, which is a valuable commodity for the road authorities responsible for the maintenance of their infrastructure. The provincial government of Noord-Brabant, together with telematics technology developer Beijer Automotive BV and the SmartwayZ.NL mobility program, have decided to collaborate on a project to deploy this data to make road management in the region ‘smarter’.

The project’s data will be captured by vehicles that are part of the SmartwayZ.NL innovative mobility program. The initiative between the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat), the provinces Noord-Brabant and Limburg, and several municipalities, companies and academic institutions within the program’s area, is aiming to create the smoothest, safest, smartest and most robust mobility network in the Netherlands. The SmartwayZ.NL mobility program comprises eight related sub-projects and focusses on the Breda-Venlo (A58, A2, A67), the A2 Weert-Eindhoven, and the N279 Veghel-Asten highway corridors, as well as other routes in the south-east Brabant area.

Collected from Beijer Automotive’s telematics devices fitted to the SmartwayZ vehicles’ CANbus (controller area network), the data will be fed into the company’s Vetuda platform, which is based on Beijer’s patented technology and is built on the Microsoft Azure Platform to process the data from millions of passenger cars. The Vetuda analytics platform bundles data from vehicles and translates this into usable information that will be tested in the SmartwayZ.NL experimental environment within the Helmond-Eindhoven-Tilburg region.

“At this moment there are already hundreds of thousands of cars implemented with our technology in the Netherlands. With the driver’s permission we can connect the information of the sensors to our Vetuda system,” explained Ronald de Beijer, director and owner of Beijer Automotive. “By matching and analyzing the data we can use the information as a valuable ‘by-product’. In this collaboration we are going to investigate how the information from Vetuda should be used exactly so that it offers the most value for better maintenance of the road network.”

Bart Swaans, program manager for traffic and transport at the Province of Noord-Brabant, said, “This information can make it possible for us as a road authority to maintain our roads in a much more efficient way. In the research phase we want to investigate the quality of the vehicle data, if we can intervene more accurately because of it and if the data truly ensures cost reductions. This way of ‘smart’ or ‘digital asset management’ is a first for the province.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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