How Data is Driving Safer Mobility

Disruptive technologies have a huge impact on mobility and transportation systems: from road traffic and train tracks to air transportation. Data contributes to the safety of future transportation systems, such as autonomous or near-autonomous vehicles and self-flying cars.


Wind turbines, antennas, power lines or skyscrapers – these are just some of the objects found in a new data set that contains over 1 million ground obstacles worldwide. When you combine these man-made obstacles with terrain data, a holistic surface model arises. A worldwide 3D-Terrain model opens up completely new use cases in the air transport industry. In commercial aviation, pilots can detect obstacles directly in front or below the aircraft with their classical radar systems. Digital models will enhance safety and situational awareness by providing pilots with the full picture, for example, by displaying obstacles that are covered by others, or thin obstacles, such as power lines, which can't be detected by radars.


The data format is open to be used in any kind of application that can make use of digital terrain models. Use cases in the area of air transport can range from commercial aviation, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Looking into the future, this data will be used for terrain following systems, enrichment of terrain models with augmented reality, or any remotely piloted systems.


Data has become a commodity and is widely available, however, in aviation the focus is on safety and therefore highest standards in data quality are considered as indispensable. For this reason all data used should be EASA or FAA certified.


Dorothee Bär, Parliamentry State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and Ute E. Wieland, Managing Director at "Deutschland - Land der Ideen" handing over the award.


The question of how to make mobility safer through innovative technologies was also the one which drove this year's “German Mobility Award”. Ten promising projects were honored with this award last week.


Amongst the winners was a project from the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German Aerospace Center) e.V., Braunschweig which I found especially interesting. Their project is about human-machine interactions and how mistakes can be reduced by using innovative input systems.


To me, not only the projects within the aviation industry were interesting, but also the ones from other industries because it helped me to gain new insights. For example, the Emergency Assist Project from Volkswagen which monitors the activity of drivers: if sensors detect inactivity they would automatically slow the car down and steer it to the side of the road.


Overall, the selected winning projects had 3 things in common:

  • They were all based on innovative IT and communication technology.
  • They were in a mature stage and had the potential to be scalable, and therefore generate value for society as a whole.
  • All projects are significantly contributing to making use of digital solutions that help to make mobility safer.


We were delighted that our Lido SurfaceData was also amongst the winning projects. While we are working on synthetic vision and advanced terrain avoidance warning systems projects, I am excited to dream about using my self-flying car in the future which will rely on our obstacle and terrain data.


Photo Credit: Deutschland – Land der Ideen/Bernd Brundert

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