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Tanzania wants smart tech to stop traffic carnage

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Tanzanian transport regulator SUMATRA is looking to use a smart tracking system to reduce traffic accidents by monitoring vehicle speeds of public service vehicles, writes RUSSELL SOUTHWOOD.

Muchangwe Ferrao looks at how a vehicle monitoring system from a Tanzanian start-up called CUMii can tackle this task.

Tanzania loses thousands of lives each year through road traffic accidents. In 2015, the Bureau of Statistics recorded about 10,000 injuries, and 3500 deaths as a result of carnage on the roads. The government now seeks to implement intelligent systems such as ConnectCar to make the country’s roads safer.

With an estimated population of 4.4 million, Dar es Salaam operates a mixed transport system that includes boda-bodas (motor-bikes), bajaj (three-wheel motorized cart), and dala dalas (commuter bus), all servicing main metropolitan areas. Being a port town, Dar es Salaam also serves as transit/gateway for large amounts of local and international traffic, which makes its road network not only busy, but also highly treacherous.

The volume of traffic presents a challenge for the governing body – Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) – in managing safety effectively. In the past, SUMATRA has used traditional electrical speed monitors but these have been ineffective as drivers easily tamper with them, thus making data recovered unreliable.

In a tender recently issued by the regulator, the primary mandate set by the government is to reduce the number of traffic accidents by implementing a smart tracking system. The system will not only monitor and track all passenger carrying motor vehicles, but essentially give control to the authority, as well as fleet owners to enhance safety, reduce idling time, manage fuel costs, as well as insurance premiums by having real time business changing data at their finger tips.

In Tanzania, Vodacom has partnered with CUMii, a leading African company in disruptive technology, to introduce ConnectedCar.

ConnectedCar is a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) tracking service that monitors driver behavior using a remote management platform. Once installed, ConnectedCar can converge with different devices including smart phones, cameras, gas readers, and many more via the Internet. It is easily configured to meet user requirements and using a mobile app or web interface displays information such as:

–  Driving habits – e.g. hard braking

–  Trip reports & customised reports

–  Geo fencing

–  Real time tracking

–  Battery Tampering Alerts

–  Multiple Driver tags & Panic button

–  Fuel Management

–  Violations notifications via SMS, email

–  Route Planning and Management

This information offers both control over safety and security, savings on insurance premiums and much more. Effectively it is an all round cost management product.

According to Chief Officer – Business Enterprise, Gregory Verbond: “Connected devices can be used to improve public safety, conserve resources, boost productivity and support the government effectively. Tanzania stands to benefit by implementing M2M solutions that bring hardware, software and data analytics together in a single solution which is what this partnership brings to the table.”

The unique features of this technology can aid in other areas where governments and enterprise seek to curb fraud through abuse of assets.  In a recent media statement, Commissioner of Policy and Procurement, Frederic Mwakibinga emphasised the need for more stringent monitoring tools to eliminate the mis-use of government vehicles in Tanzania. ConnectedCar can help to achieve this too.

Research has shown that markets that have implemented this technology effectively have resulted in profits of up-to 12% experienced through cost saving and management. This is a substantial amount to a country like Tanzania where road accidents cost the government approximately Tshs. 20 billion annually.

In cities such as Dar es Salaam where road accidents due to negligence and reckless driving are part of daily life, ConnectedCar, can make a real difference. In its simplest form, this service is friendly enough to be used by anyone concerned about the safety of the of loved ones, bajaj owners and families alike.

Local engineers known as Technites, who are trained and accredited by CUMii, do the installations. This model aims to ensure quality and excellence, as well as enhance local skills whilst creating new jobs in the local market.

* Russell Southwood is editor of Smart Monkey TV.  To subscribe to its web TV channel, visit http://www.youtube.com/user/SmartMonkeyTV/videos

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Auto rivals team up for connected car demo

Rivals BMW, Ford and Groupe PSA, maker of Peugeot and Opel cars, have teamed up with the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA), Qualcomm Technologies and Savari for Europe’s first live demonstration of C-V2X direct communication technology operating across vehicles from multiple auto manufacturers.

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The live demonstration also featured a live showcase of C-V2X direct communication technology operating between passenger cars, motorcycles, and roadside infrastructure. C-V2X is a global solution for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication in support of improved automotive safety, automated driving and traffic efficiency.

The demonstration exhibited the road safety and traffic efficiency benefits of using C-V2X for Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) collision avoidance, as well as Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) connectivity to traffic signals and Traffic Management Centers (TMC). C-V2X was operated using real-time direct communications over ITS spectrum and demonstrated its ability to work without cellular network coverage, and underscores its commercial readiness for industry deployment as early as 2020. Superior performance and cost-effectiveness compared to other V2X technologies, along with forward-compatibility with 5G, make C-V2X direct communications a preferred solution for C-ITS applications.

Six demonstrations were shown including: Emergency Electronic Brake Light, Intersection Collision Warning, Across Traffic Turn Collision Risk Warning, Slow Vehicle Warning and Stationary Vehicle Warning, Signal Phase and Timing / Signal Violation Warning and Vulnerable Road User (pedestrian) Warning. The vehicles involved included two-wheel e-scooters provided by BMW Group, and automotive passenger vehicles provided by Ford, Groupe PSA, and BMW Group, all of which were equipped with C-V2X direct communication technology using the Qualcomm® 9150 C-V2X chipset solution.  V2X software stack and application software, along with roadside infrastructure, were provided by industry leader, Savari.

C-V2X is globally supported by a broad automotive ecosystem, which includes the fast growing 5GAA organization.  The 5GAA involves over 85 global members comprised of many leading automakers, Tier-1 suppliers, software developers, mobile operators, semiconductor companies, test equipment vendors, telecom suppliers, traffic signal suppliers and road operators.  

Cellular modems will be key to the C-V2X deployment in vehicles to support telematics, eCall, connected infotainment and delivering useful driving/traffic/parking information. As C-V2X direct communication functionality is integrated into the cellular modem, C-V2X solutions are expected to be more cost-efficient and economical over competing technologies, and benefit from accelerated attach rates.  C-V2X direct communication field validations are currently underway in Germany, France, Korea, China, Japan and the U.S.

C-V2X currently stands as the only V2X technology based on globally recognized 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications, with ongoing evolution designed to offer forward compatibility with 5G.  C-V2X also leverages and reuses the upper layer protocols defined by the automotive industry, including the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) organization. C-V2X includes two complementary transmission modes: 

  • Direct communication as shown in this demonstration for V2V and V2I use cases
  • V2N network communication, which leverages mobile operators for connectivity and delivers cloud-based services, including automated crash notification (ACN, as mandated by eCall), hazard warnings, weather conditions, green light optimal speed advisory (GLOSA), parking spot location, and remote tele-operation to support automated driving, to name a few.

“This demonstration builds on the successful C-V2X showcase we organised with our members Audi, Ford and Qualcomm in Washington DC in April, said Christoph Voigt, Chairman of 5GAA.

“We are excited to witness the growing momentum behind this life-saving technology and to see our members working together to deploy C-V2X, and to make it hit the road as soon as possible.”  

“The BMW Group introduced the first C-ITS use cases already in 2013 with the market introduction of the BMW i3. Today most of envisaged C-ITS use-cases are already institutionalized. With the implementation of C-V2X, the BMW Group accomplishes the last set of the puzzle with a practical path to C-ITS showing quick benefits,” said Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President Electronics, BMW Group. 

“With its ability to safely and securely connect vehicles, along with its evolution into 5G, C-V2X is integral to Ford’s vision for future transportation in which all cars and infrastructure talk to each other,” said Thomas Lukaszewicz, Manager Automated Driving, Ford of Europe. “We are very encouraged by preliminary test results in Europe and elsewhere which support our belief that C-V2X direct communications has superior V2X communication capabilities.”

“We’re moving forward with seamless communication between cars and their environment for enhancing road safety, as well as our customers’ safety,” said Carla Gohin, Group PSA’s Vice President for Research and Advanced Engineering. “Following the first European C-V2X direct communications demonstration we hosted with Qualcomm Technologies last March, we’re pleased to work with leading automotive and technology companies today to highlight that C-V2X interoperability is a reality.” 

“This demonstration of interoperability between multiple automakers is not only another milestone achieved towards C-V2X deployment, but also further validates the commercial viability and global compatibility of C-V2X direct communications for connected vehicles,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president & president, Qualcomm Europe and MEA. “We look forward in continuing to work alongside leaders in the automotive industry, like the 5GAA, BMW Group, Ford, Groupe PSA and Savari, to help advance the automotive industry’s shift towards a safer, connected and more autonomous future.” 

“As one of the V2X pioneers, our company is extremely pleased to continue to help enable the next step in the V2X revolution that we helped start back in 2008,” said Ravi Puvvala, CEO of Savari. “For the last year and a half, the Savari team has worked diligently alongside the dedicated C-V2X engineers in the 5GAA partnership. The resulting string of increasingly impressive demonstrations is continuing to convince the world that C-V2X will soon be deployed around the world.”

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Fleet management in 360

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An on-board dual camera system from global fleet management vehicle recovery and insurance telematics provider, Cartrack, reduces the costs of managing vehicle fleets, while creating new ways to motivate drivers and improve their on-the-road performance.

Historically, commercial drivers within fleets have been far removed from active management and oversight, with limited tools available in helping fleet owners understand how their drivers actually behave on the road. This lack of visual tracking ability has seen fleet managers struggle to achieve meaningful driver skills development, while also leaving companies vulnerable to poor operational performance and financial losses resulting from accidents.

Cartrack’s Drive Vision system is dramatically changing this status quo.

Drive Vision is an on-board dual camera system that records video footage with a 120-degree exterior view of the road ahead, and a 160-degree view inside the vehicle cab. Not only can fleet managers actively monitor all the footage that they wish, the system also records specific events such as speeding, harsh braking or an unforeseen action from a third-party.

Drive Vision’s video is continuously captured and then made available to users in two ways. The footage is either buffered in the unit’s memory card for up to five days, and selected time slots can be downloaded by the user via a web interface. Alternatively, footage is also automatically downloaded to the system when specific events occur, such as speeding or a collision.  The captured footage is stored at a web address and is immediately accessible to the client at any time. In addition, the data centre’s driver exception reporting mechanism can review the footage against a client’s pre-determined driver behaviour stipulations, creating a balanced and flexible driver performance assessment tool.

Cartrack CEO, Andre Ittmann, notes why Drive Vision is so useful for companies.

“There are two key strategic benefits to the technology.  Firstly, the company has a clear visual record of events in the case of an accident or legal dispute. Achieving this kind of detailed view hasn’t been possible before, and it can dramatically reduce the costs around incidents and accidents, on an ongoing basis. Secondly, Drive Vision is a highly functional, event-based coaching system. It therefore allows fleet managers to develop a culture that rewards excellent or improved performance, while also giving them the power to actively close skills gaps. “

Ittmann also notes that fleet video footage allows the company to monitor and manage aspects of its service and market performance, including the driver’s ability to access a work site, thereby ensuring timeous arrivals at designated locations and the ability to oversee passenger count and conduct.

Ittmann concludes that Drive Vision offers untold long-term advantages for companies.

“Beyond simply gaining a more efficient means to discipline errant drivers, Drive Vision also empowers fleet managers to proactively implement measures that will result in long-term benefits for their company. Ultimately, the company can also reduce costs related to driver mismanagement while simultaneously improving a driver’s skills and their performance on the road.”

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