Taiwan develops software that can identify traffic accident hotspots

12/01/2020 09:47 PM
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A drone taking photos of an intersection in Taipei. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation
A drone taking photos of an intersection in Taipei. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) The Institute of Transportation (IOT) on Tuesday unveiled a software program that uses drone images and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify traffic accident hotspots, which it said will help local governments improve road safety in 2021.

The software focuses on intersections, as 56.5 percent of the 260,000 traffic accidents from January to September this year occurred at an intersection, the IOT said in a press release.

Using images taken by drones, the software can track the path and speed of various vehicles, bikes and pedestrians at an intersection and identify where they are most likely to collide, the IOT said.

The software then tags the accident hotpots as red, orange, yellow or green, based on how severe the crash would be, with red being a fatal crash, and green projecting no injuries, the IOT said.

Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation
Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation

Using the software, local authorities can easily see where accidents are most likely to occur and make changes to the road, such as adjusting the lane sizes or turning radius, instead of being able to identify accident hotspots only after multiple accidents have already occurred, the IOT said.

The IOT said it plans to use the software in cooperation with local governments in 2021, so that potential issues with road safety can be addressed sooner to prevent traffic accidents.

Aerial images taken by drones will not violate people's privacy, as only the tops of vehicles will be visible in the images, the IOT said.

An image of an intersection being analyzed in the system. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation
An image of an intersection being analyzed in the system. Photo courtesy of the Institute of Transportation

Only registered drones that have passed safety checks will be used, and the operators will be required to apply to the Civil Aeronautics Administration and local governments for license to fly the drones, the IOT said.

The IOT, an organization under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, conducts research into transportation policies and systems.

(By Wang Shu-fen and Chiang Yi-ching)

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