To increase road safety and improve traffic flow, Ericsson is introducing Connected Traffic Cloud - a managed cloud platform that enables the sharing of real-time traffic and road condition data between connected vehicles and road traffic authorities.
With Connected Traffic Cloud, the road traffic authorities have access to all the data they need, as well as a much better means of communicating potentially life-saving traffic advisories to drivers, the company claims.
Despite playing a vital role in facilitating the transportation of people and goods, road vehicles are also responsible for 1.24 million fatalities every year, according to the most recent data from the World Health Organization.
And then there's the cost of traffic congestion; calculated by adding up wasted fuel, time that could be spent more productively and higher business costs - which already amounts to well over US$ 100 billion a year in the US alone.
Orvar Hurtig, Head of Industry & Society at Ericsson, noted: "Mobile connectivity is increasingly a must-have feature in cars, thanks to both consumer demand for infotainment and a wide range of regulatory initiatives that aim to increase road safety.
“As a result, vehicles are becoming a major source of data that could be used to improve road traffic authorities' ability to manage traffic and prevent avoidable accidents. Connected Traffic Cloud is the means by which that data could be shared."
At launch, Connected Traffic Cloud improves the ability of road traffic authorities to communicate with drivers. Whereas currently the authorities rely on a combination of broadcast radio and digital roadside signage, Connected Traffic Cloud will facilitate proactive and location-relevant communication with drivers via the screens of connected devices.
In addition, Connected Traffic Cloud has the potential to greatly increase road traffic authorities' ability to aggregate and analyse real real-time data from connected vehicles and devices - if the owners of the data are willing to share it.
From a component point of view, Connected Traffic Cloud combines industry applications, service enablement, connectivity management, and consulting and systems integration services. Each of these individual elements has been proven in other industry-specific managed cloud platforms, such as Connected Vehicle Cloud and Maritime ICT Cloud.
The primary customer for Connected Traffic Cloud is road traffic authorities, who currently rely on a limited set of data provided by a relatively small number of road sensors and traffic cameras. Other potential sources of data include aftermarket, portable GPS devices and smartphone navigation apps.
Traffic authorities use the data they have today to manage traffic flow by, for example, controlling traffic lights. In addition, they use the data they have to provide traffic advisories to drivers that help them avoid potentially dangerous road conditions as a result of, for example, lane closures and road works.
By launching Connected Traffic Cloud, Ericsson hopes to inspire the creation of an open ecosystem in which data from connected vehicles will be shared to ease traffic flow and enhance road safety.