Idevio and V-Traffic win Volvo Trucks Innovation Challenge with an application for improved road safety

As a driver it’s easy to miss the occasional road sign or forget the signs you passed several kilometres ago. Is it OK to overtake here? What’s the speed limit on this stretch of road? Always having access to up-to-date road-sign information brings security for the driver and improves road safety. With the WayAhead application proposed by Idevio and V-Traffic, the driver is no longer taken by surprise by hazardous road conditions further down the road that are currently out of sight or that he/she fails to detect until it’s too late.

Creating active safety innovations using open innovation methodology was the objective of the Volvo Open Innovation Challenge held at the Lindholmen Vehicle ICT Arena on March 20-21st. Idevio and V-Traffic competed with their WayAhead application and secured first prize – a 100,000 SEK development grant for the creation of an implementable solution for Volvo and a viable business plan.

A strong side wind can surprise the driver when the road cuts across wide-open fields or climbs high onto a bridge; black ice and freezing rain are things you normally cannot see; the risk of aquaplaning is a hazard that all drivers should be alerted to. Road condition alerts, especially in sharp bends for instance, are examples of situations where the system developed by Idevio and V-Traffic truly comes into its own.

“Services that are tailored for use in trucks are the next step in improving efficiency and life on the road for the transport industry. The goal of the competition was to stimulate the pace of innovation in this field” says Lars Mårtensson, Director Environment and Innovation at Volvo Trucks.

WayAhead is more than just a road-sign replacement. It shows current road signs and also alerts the driver to potential hazards for which there are usually no road signs. The information is tailored to the actual vehicle so everything that is not relevant can be filtered out. It was the simplicity of the interface and the focus on safety that appealed most to the jury.

“If our information is to contribute to safe roads, it’s not enough that the information is relevant – it also has to be presented to the driver without causing distraction” explains Petter Djerf, V-Traffic Service Account Director at Mediamobile, the company behind the system’s real-time information.

WayAhead provides information about the current route, the speed limit and other parameters such as bridge height, maximum axle load, limitations on dangerous cargo and so on. The V-Traffic road-weather condition services provide information about hazards such as icy road surfaces, freezing rain, strong side winds and aquaplaning. All this information is collated with data obtained from the vehicle to provide an excellent picture of what the driver can expect on the road ahead.

“We’re particularly pleased to have delivered technology that can combine information not just between driver and vehicle, but also from a number of other sources such as weather reports, maps and traffic information, via a really simple interface that focuses entirely on safety. Now we’re ready for the next stage – to embed the service into the vehicle,”says Jonas Lindén of Idevio.