The Hyper-intelligent highway

As the age of Autonomy and AI begins to deliver the promises given in the 50s, we are seeing sector leading improvements in our automaker industries, as they have to rethink their business strategy and invest in electrifying their fleets. But what of the infrastructure for all these new smart autonomous vehicles?

Since 2006 the UK has pioneered the infrastructure upgrade program, introducing the Smart motorways with hard shoulder running and data centres to monitor and react to traffic build up and congestion management. This area of growth is not only important for environmental reasons but also the future of our economy and personal wellbeing. Let’s take a look at the challenges been faced for the future of our infrastructure and traffic management and how AI and Automation can be leveraged to solve these issues.

The UK registered vehicles data shows 4 million registered vehicles in the 1950s which has grown to 34 million vehicles today. With that growth in road users comes a Traffic management nightmare. While work has begun to solve this problem there is huge potential over the next decade of AI development to deliver huge improvements and cost savings.

In 2019 a group of Researchers conducted a study that monitored traffic flow over a 48km stretch sampling from 208 data stations. The paper titled ‘Motorway Traffic Flow Predictions using Advanced Deep Learning’ used a combination of CNN (Convolution Neural Networks), LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory Networks) and LSTM-CNN Hybrid models to predict traffic flow patterns. These predictive models have been applied to the rich data set collected which are comprised of 36.34 million data points along an Australian highway.

The results showed great promise for future application of deep Learning as a tool for traffic management and decision-making centres across the world. Imagine being able to make strong predictions about congestion build up or potential accidents before they even occur, this allows traffic data centres to become more proactive in management rather than just reactive. These deep learning models can be used in conjunction with automation, thus increasing efficiency of the traffic network management and reducing human error in the system. Essentially these Highway management solutions will be fully autonomous in their operation with the only human intervention being in the maintenance of the network.

So, what does this all mean for you? Well at the very least it will make your journeys from A to B quicker, less stressful and likely very uneventful. With smart motorways recently coming into question over safety measures following the number of deaths due to human error, AI and automation Systems have the ability to make thousands of calculations a second – Inevitably making journeys safer.

For business having automated systems that work tirelessly without the need for breaks, ensures logistical journeys are executed quickly and efficiently, saving millions in outgoing costs.

As with many digital age technologies the focus is on big data, the Capture, cleaning and processing of this data. With all this in mind, it Is clear that in the next decade we will see AI and automation Systems revolutionise traffic management and have a positive effect on how we travel.

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