Deep learning Vivacity wins inaugural Highways UK award

Congratulations to Vivacity – the best innovation as voted by visitors to this year’s Highways UK event. Vivacity is a new and ingenious system for anonymously tracking people and vehicle movement. It came out on top in the first Highways UK Intelligent Infrastructure Award supported by the innovation agency Innovate UK.

A total of 18 of the best innovations in the UK highways sector took part – with each candidate presented to an audience of visitors in a bid to explain why they should win the prize. An anonymous ballot of visitors voted Vivacity this year’s best innovation.

The Vivacity system combines CCTV cameras with highly advanced computer software, which uses the latest ‘machine learning’ algorithms to anonymously detect and determine different types of objects. It is claimed to be the only technology that can automatically distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, vans and lorries in real-time from a single device or from existing CCTV feeds.

Vivacity is being promoted by a collaboration between Vivacity Labs, consultants EY and Mott MacDonald and highways maintenance support specialist Carnell. Development of the system is already beyond the initial prototype phase and is now being demonstrated and progressed through a number of pilot projects. Milton Keynes is among the first cities and highway authorities to deploy Vivacity.

Vivacity has been heralded as having enormous potential as a low-cost, unobtrusive and low-impact way of gathering useful data for the planning and operation of transport networks.

“There are many different possible uses for Vivacity where deep learning techniques can really help network operations, including safety. Vivacity can alert control rooms to the presence of people or vehicles in hazardous situations such as roadworks,” said Vivacity’s Peter Mildon.

“We are delighted to have won the first Intelligent Infrastructure Award at Highways UK. We have been able to speak to a lot of different people here over the last two days and we’re now looking forward to turning those conversations into real business opportunities and exciting projects.”

Vivacity fought off some tough competition. Among the other contenders for the Innovation Award were drone technology, as well as a host of digital methods of monitoring, measuring and analysing networks of infrastructure.

Highways UK managing director Andrew Dowding said: “The Intelligent Infrastructure Award launched at Highways UK this month produced a stunning array of innovations that the roads industry can be very proud of.

“Congratulations to all 18 entries. But special congratulations go to our winner Vivacity which demonstrates the huge advances being made through technology in how we future proof our highways.”

The full list of innovations that took part:

1.MarkingCollector: TRL. This is a way of checking quality of white lines from a moving vehicle rather than having people assessing them on foot. It’s quicker, safer and more cost effective.

2. Smart Taper: Highway Resource Solutions. Temporary traffic management nearly always requires setting up a taper to move traffic to a different lane. Smart Taper makes existing taper lamps smart by equipping them with a motion detector and communication technology so Taper strikes and their accurate location are identified instantly via the internet which means any breaks can be quickly repaired. Spin off benefits include providing vital information to future generations of autonomous vehicles navigating road works.

3. Dangerous Good Vehicle Detection System: Costain. This is the first of its kind in the world and was developed to play an important, safety-critical role in the new Free Flow Charging System at the Dartford crossing. Dangerous Goods Vehicles prohibited from entering the tunnel are identified from the orange plate they bear and are quickly and safely taken out of the mainstream traffic flow using a complex sequence of traffic signals, message signs and barriers which are automatically set, depending on the speed of the vehicle.

4. Stationary Vehicle Detection Radar: Jackson with Highways England and Navtech. This technology instantly detects stationary vehicles on the carriageway and alerts the Regional Control Centre. A trial between junctions 5-6 of the M25 aimed to establish whether radar technology could be used on smart motorways to further improve incident detection by spotting slow-moving or stationary vehicles within 60 seconds.

5.  Citybox: Bouygues Energies and Service. Integrating electronic units into the base of street lights transforms the lighting network into a digital communication network which can manage lighting but also include wifi hotspots, CCTV, public address sound systems, electric vehicle charging points, pollution sensors and weather stations.

6.  Vivacity: Vivacity Labs in collaboration with EY, Carnell and Mott MacDonald. Vivacity uses the latest machine learning algorithms to anonymously track people and vehicles. It is the only technology that can automatically distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, vans and lorries in real-time from a single device or from existing CCTV feeds. Useful for trespass and stationary vehicle monitoring, transport planning analytics, and a source of rich data to predict maintenance requirements.

7. Journey Time Analysis: Atkins in collaboration with EE. Uses anonymised, aggregated mobile phone data to derive journey times on the M25 and arterial routes reducing need for roadside technology which saves money and gives more accurate information on motorway traffic flow.

8. Asset inspection using autonomous drones: AmeyVTOL.  AmeyVTOL’s Flying Wing is the future of aerial inspections. It is the market-leading unmanned autonomous long-range drone that will carry multiple sensor arrays making it safer, quicker and easier to assess vital infrastructure.

9. Gully SMART: KaarbonTech. Gully SMART asset management software combines mobile technology and Ordnanace Survey data with visual inspection information to help target maintenance investment when and where it is most needed.

10. OS Model Builder for Infraworks 360: Cadline in collaboration with Ordnance Survey. OS Model Builder allows users to more easily access Ordnance Survey datasets, including terrain, imagery, roads, rivers and buildings to create a configured 3D model for use within Autodesk InfraWorks 360 which can create city-scale 3D models.

 11. Carbon Portal: Mott MacDonald. This online tool can assess capital and operational carbon of infrastructure projects, including highways, helping cut carbon and therefore cost.

 12: Digital Balfour Beatty: Balfour Beatty. This is a pan business way of working that offers an integrated collection of digital tools which can be used individually or together to support construction processes throughout a project’s lifecycle. The result is the workforce can be more mobile and everyone can communicate more quickly and make better informed decisions.

13. AppyParking: Yellow Line Parking.  ApplyParking is a disruptive tech start up that creates, aggregates and manages on and off-street parking and traffic flow data via sensors in vehicles or an app. Drivers can be directed to available parking rather than leave them crawling around the houses searching for a space. It is a connected car Smart City solution that helps cut congestion and pollution and saves drivers’ time, money.

14. Siemens Intelligent Parking: Siemens. This solves the problem of people driving needlessly around looking for parking by guiding drivers to the nearest available space. It is integrated with general traffic data so authorities can choose how to best influence drivers while gathering data that can help with increasing revenue, reducing congestion and lowering emissions.

15. SPATIOWL: Fujitsu. SPATIOWL is a real-time big data traffic and transport management service that improves efficiency for local councils, train, bus, and ride-sharing companies. It captures location data from diverse sources, aggregates it, and uses analytics to generate the best real-time transport options, as well as short and long-term planning decisions.

 16. autoMAP Mobile Mapping and Mobile GPR: LandScope Engineering. The integration of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to LandScope Engineering’s autoMAP Mobile Mapping system provides an accurate and detailed visualisation of highway assets above and below the ground that can be picked up on the move, in a single driving campaign. It means there is no need to close roads to do the surveying, it can all be done from one vehicle towing the system.

 17: Online engagement platform: Commonplace. This isa cloud-based engagement and analytics platform for cities, infrastructure providers and developers to improve communication with the public and understanding of local concerns. It is a single online hub that can reach 10 times more individuals, especially younger people, than traditional consultation methods and provides a comprehensive way to engage people about the places they live so planning can be simpler.

 18.Wattway: Colas. Wattway is the first photovoltaic road surfacing, producing clean, renewable electricity in addition to a road’s conventional use. The innovation has the potential to power public lighting, electric vehicle charging stations, energy buildings, airports, etc. UK trials are to be set up to test the system and the end game is to use Wattway as a cornerstone of the durable and user-friendly city of the future.