How to improve incident management with radar sensors

A smart highway management system, detecting such hazardous occurrences, can significantly reduce the number of accidents.

The article was originally posted in the September 2022 issue of TTI Magazine, available here.


smartmicro sensors for data collection and incident management

Did you know that about 9% of all vehicle crashes on highways are secondary to another incident?1 Considering that the annual highway statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimate over 5.215.000 non-fatal crashes for the US and report that 38.824 people died on US roads2, technology detecting incidents can have a major impact on enhancing road safety.

There are different incidents frequently occurring on highways, which need to be detected to avoid the danger. Featuring the most advanced ultra-high definition (4D/UHD) technology smartmicro sensors directly measure the range, speed, and azimuth angle of all vehicles in real-time – even in complex conditions. This way, smartmicro sensors detect incidents and send trigger messages to variable traffic signs and the traffic control center for immediate measures.

Slow-moving or even stopped vehicles on the driving lanes or the hard shoulder of a highway due to traffic jams, accidents, or vehicle breakdowns are common. To avoid rear-end collisions, smartmicro sensors provide lane-specific data of each vehicle on up to ten lanes in both driving directions. In case a vehicle’s speed falls below a customer-defined speed threshold, an instant alert to the traffic control center can be triggered to cause an appropriate response. For example, the lane can be closed immediately via variable message signs to prevent rear-impact crashes or vehicles queuing up behind the stopped one. The sensor also detects sudden speed changes, which are often an indication of possible incidents.

Another type of incident is wrong-way driving. As smartmicro sensors are accurately detecting not only the speed but also the driving direction, they can instantly notify the traffic control room by giving the exact location of a vehicle moving in the wrong direction. The dangers can then be reduced by managing the situation, for example by triggering variable signs in real-time and immediately sending a police escort to secure the situation. It is important to know the particular challenges of wrong-way driving detection for choosing the right technology. Since a large proportion of wrong-way crashes occur from midnight to 5 a.m.3, the detection system needs to be usable during the night. Based on radar, which is the most robust sensing technology, smartmicro sensors are not affected by bad light conditions or other critical environments like dirt, smog, wind, or sandstorms. This way, they have unaffected high performance throughout the night as well as during critical light conditions like sundown and sunrise.

Due to the forward-firing principle of smartmicro sensors, vehicles remain inside the field of view for a longer time while their position and speed are measured and tracked accurately. This enables precise monitoring of vehicle trajectories and the detection of unexpected events like sudden lane changes. Immediately reporting such events leads to a better understanding of traffic dynamics in real-time as well as increased safety for critical scenarios.

Also, smartmicro sensors are adjustable to monitor and detect incidents within tunnels or on bridges. In such areas, incident detection technology can increase safety immensely by, for example, detecting pedestrians. The sensor uses an integrated event trigger module where many zones of interest can be created, and specific conditions can be defined for triggering customizable reactions or messages. For example, if an object is detected in a zone for motorized traffic only and that object is classified as a pedestrian, a trigger message warning about a person on the road can be sent.

smartmicro sensors provide a detection range of up to 500m. Their large coverage as well as their reliability in all weather conditions make them the ideal choice for different highway or freeway applications. The sensors deliver excellent data for incident detection in real-time. At the same time, they can be used for long-term traffic monitoring and data collection. Mounted on existing infrastructure, road closure can be avoided which reduces the initial cost for installation. Because the sensors are maintenance-free, they are even more cost-effective throughout their lifetime. To enable a smooth integration into existing backend software solutions smartmicro devices are available with an API  (Application Programmers Interface).

Make the choice today to increase safety by using smartmicro sensors.