A Manchester-headquartered connected vehicle company is having a major impact on road safety abroad.
Wejo, third on our TransportTech 50 innovation ranking late last year, is working with Madrid-based Xouba, an analytics company that uses cloud data to make roads safer.
Xouba has tapped into Wejo’s connected vehicle data – CVD – to better understand traffic and driver behaviour trends using information generated from over 11.8m connected vehicles.
It says municipalities typically use physical roadway sensors to analyse where speeding occurs, but these are costly to maintain, only provide a snapshot in time and are often only located on straight stretches of road. It also takes years of analysis before counts such as accidents and fatalities can be used to determine if a project was effective at reducing speed.
“In the past, municipalities would hear of a bad crash, analyse it, and try to fix the problem, then wait for another crash to determine if what they did worked or not,” says Jose Carlos Valdecantos Alvarez, director at Xouba.
“With CVD, that process is totally different. We can measure how cars are moving in real-time: we see if they need to quickly brake, for example, then use that information to make safety improvements before there are accidents and fatalities.
“It’s changing how we approach everything…. my clients call it magic.”
Xouba helped Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda measure the effectiveness of a recent roundabout intervention completed in the spring of 2021.
Without having implemented any sensors pre-project, Xouba used historical CVD to determine the speeds of vehicles before the intervention and after completion.
“Smart road authorities can act preventively, acting on the infrastructure before the accident occurs rather than the traditional reactive approach,” adds Valdecantos Alvarez.
In Utah, USA, Wejo helped Flow Labs to gain rich insights into roadway trends generated directly from millions of connected vehicles.
Flow Labs created virtual sensors, which integrate CVD with signal and sensor data, to ensure that its analytics, proactive monitoring and multi-modal optimisation were based on an accurate picture of traffic flow.
The firm says CVD gave Flow Labs a more complete and reliable understanding of vehicle volume across intersections and roadways. Virtual sensors could track the speeds of every vehicle approaching, turning into and exiting an area; they could also uncover which traffic signal phase is responsible for a split failure or control delay, enabling engineers to efficiently address congestion.
Instead of relying on hardware installation, which can cost up to $30,000, Flow Labs could deploy a virtual sensor anywhere to determine which networks, intersections and routes were the most congested and unsafe?
Jatish Patel, CEO of Flow Labs, says that by integrating Wejo CVD into its data set, the firm’s virtual sensors could generate volume accuracy of 94.4% – reducing error by 58% compared to hardware sensors.
“You need Wejo as part of your data toolkit. It is necessary if you want a full picture of what’s happening on roadways,” says Patel.
Wejo, launched by Formula 1 fan Richard Barlow in 2014, was valued at $800m last year in a high-profile reverse merger with publicly-listed shell company Virtuoso Acquisition Corp.
It announced significant partnerships with Microsoft, Palantir and Sompo Holdings in 2021.