Breakthrough research lights the way for future road users

03/09/19 | Park News

A new generation of road technology is being pioneered at Westcott. 

Hi-tech company Valerann has installed a next-generation traffic management system, which leverages sensory cats eyes to collect and disseminate information at the Westcott Venture Park in Aylesbury as a testing ground for its cutting-edge research. 

Part of the company’s Smart Road System, the cats eyes are designed to collect information on road users and encourage better decision making by drivers which will drastically improve safety and efficiency as well as cutting emissions. 

Each of the devices has a wireless sensor that senses when there are vehicles next to them, assesses nearby risks and even gauges weather conditions. 

The information is then sent wirelessly to the Valerann cloud which allows operators to completely understand what is happening on the road. 

Michael Vardi, Co-founder and Chief Business Officer of Valerann, said: “We are able to perfectly recreate the exact driving pattern of every vehicle on the road so we can track where they are within or along the lane and how they interact with other vehicles. This is achieved through machine learning and real time analysis of continuous data sets, which allow us to track vehicle along the road”.

“With this information we can help road operators manage the biggest infrastructure on earth. They manage life and death situations every day but don’t always have the tools to do that comprehensively everywhere. 

“We are able to identify risks in real time such as a car driving dangerously or going the wrong way. Once we detect this we inform the road operators and alert authorities if necessary.” 

He added: “We can also use the lighting systems within the cats eyes to send drivers simple messages. For example, we can turn them blue to show icy roads or make a single lane red to signal the road is closed.”

The cats eyes have been installed over a 200 metre stretch along two lanes on the main entrance road at Westcott to evaluate how the system works in UK weather conditions as well as collecting traffic information. 

Michael added: “We want to keep on making improvements and continue innovating. Testing here provides the best environment because it allows us to collect data from a lot of traffic but is also controlled enough for us to be able to access the system and conduct experiments and trials.”  

Last year Valerann was selected as one of Europe’s 10 leading GovTech start-ups. 

It also has bases in London and the United States and is working closely with agencies such as Highways England in the UK. It is part of the Space Cluster based at the Westcott Business Incubation Centre which is supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult. 

Nigel MacKenzie, Westcott Venture Park Project Manager, said: “Valerann is conducting vital research into the next generation of road technology and we are delighted to be able to provide a platform for its testing. 

“Westcott is ideal for this kind of programme because it is a secure site with an established regulatory and safety regime suitable for testing a wide variety of systems.”  

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