Vivacity - overall winner 2016
The Vivacity system can automatically distinguish between different road users in real time
The system combines CCTV cameras with advanced software
It uses machine learning algorithms to anonymously detect and determine different types of objects.
Technology at the forefront of highways future proofing
Spring 2018 is an exciting time for Vivacity Labs, whose "machine learning" approach to gathering data from video feeds on how road spaces are being used was voted winner of the inaugural Costain-sponsored Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge (IIC) award in 2016
Highways move slowly as an industry sector, says chief operating officer Peter Mildon, but as a direct result of Vivacity Labs having won a prestigious IIC award, the company has recently secured a trial of its technology with Highways England.
"At the time we were about a year old as a company and had been running a number of trials for clients deploying prototype hardware which ran the software locally," Mildon explains. "Winning the Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge validated to our founding team that we were on to something that the highways market space both wanted and needed.
The award gave us credibility with potential clients including Highways England, employees and investors, and kicked of a year which saw the company almost triple in size, win large contracts, raise an investment round and set up industry collaboration."
Some 16 months on, and Vivacity has "productised" its hardware solution and increased the accuracy of its software. "Enabled by our large-scale deployment in Milton Keynes have now embarked on using the traffic data we generate to predict urban road network "busy-ness" in the near term (10-20 minutes)."
The Vivacity system, which combines CCTV cameras with advanced software, uses machine learning algorithms to anonymously detect and determine different types of objects. This means it can automatically distinguish between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, vans and lorries in real-time from a single device or from existing CCTV feeds.
The system has enormous potential as a low-cost, unobtrusive and low-impact way of gathering useful data for the planning and operation of transport networks, Mildon explains. And there are many different possible uses where deep learning techniques can really help network operations, he adds, including safety: "Vivacity can alert control rooms to the presence of people or vehicles in hazardous situations such as roadworks."
At the presentation of IIC award in 2016, Highways UK managing director Andrew Dowding was particularly impressed with the Vivacity system which, he says "demonstrates the huge advances being made through technology in how we future proof our highways".
The forthcoming Vivacity trial with Highways England, which takes place in July, is supported by the latter's innovation fund. It will examine a number of technologies designed to aleviate stopped-vehicle disruption in the 490m-long twin-bore Southwick Tunnel on the A27 Shoreham Bypass, just west of Brighton.
Vivacity Labs' chief operating officer Peter Mildon is one of the judges in this year's Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge awards.