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Jan 28, 2020,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

France: 500km of smart roads will allow drivers to send and receive data

A smart road project will soon see the light of day in France. More than 500km of road in the region of Brittany has been equipped with smart antennas enabling a range of data to be sent and received. As well as advising of potential dangers, drivers can also receive alerts warning them of the need to drive carefully in certain areas. The system is attracting interest from the French police and national rail operator SNCF, which sees it as a way of preventing collisions on the tracks.

Credit: Wipof/Pixabay


A series of smart roads in western France will soon be allowing drivers to receive and send data on any potential hazards they may face during their journeys. Launched in 2014, the Scoop project has been co-funded by the European Commission. It has led to around 100 special antennas, each costing €1,000, to be set up on 500km of motorways and local roads in the regions of Brittany and Loire-Atlantique.


Information and alerts on road safety


The site is now “operational”, said Katell Kerdudo, head of the Mobility/Traffic Department at the Interdepartmental Road Agency (DIR) West. It is an innovation that should improve road safety. Any drivers witnessing an incident on the road, such as an accident or someone walking on the motorway, can inform other road users by sending a signal that will be picked up by the antennas.

The alert is then transmitted to the Traffic Engineering and Management Centre (CGIT), which sends the information on to other vehicles. As well as drivers and the CGIT, information can also be received from the sensors found in the ABSs, fog lights and airbags of cars.


Anonymous and secure data


The only risk with the system is that drivers could be flooded with information when behind the wheel. “That is a potential negative effect,” said Nicolas Desmons, an employee at Viveris, one of the companies taking part in the project. “But we’ve worked with ergonomists to make sure there’s added value for drivers without an information overload.”

Responding to concerns about the protection of personal data, Kerdudo said: “It’s all anonymous and secure. The system has been approved by the National Information Science and Liberties Commission (CNIL) and guarantees the user anonymity. We won’t even have details of car registration plates.” She added that these smart roads are an important step towards the eventual large-scale roll-out of self-driving cars, which could happen over the next 15 years.


French police and SNCF showing an interest


The technology has attracted the attention of the forces of law and order. The French police believe it could help improve road safety and traffic flow, while also being used to divulge more general information such as terrorist attack warnings and abduction alerts. “It will save time for everyone and allow us to react in a more effective way.”

In its efforts to make the railways safer for its users, SNCF is also showing an interest in the system. Every year rail accidents cost the lives of 25 to 35 people in 110 to 140 collisions. “Connected cars could have an impact on behaviour,” said an SNCF project leader, who is working on an intelligent level crossing. “It would make people more alert when they’re coming up to a level crossing and help them limit their speed better.”


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Cover image: kedarraval20/Pixabay

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