“Good morning Anna, this is your car speaking. The road has informed me that there is a broken down vehicle two kilometres ahead. A queue of traffic is already building up. You may want to move to the third lane when possible.” This might sound like a very strange conversation but this is exactly the kind of in-car support SAFE STRIP is working on. SAFE STRIP, short for Safe and green Sensor Technologies for self-explaining and forgiving Road Interactive aPplications, is developing and deploying inexpensive micro and nano sensors, integrated in state of the art and surface mounted road strips which can communicate road status data such as the road temperature, the road pavement condition (wear, humidity, etc.).

The sensors will collect and communicate dynamic and static traffic data such as notifications of road works, unguarded railway crossings, broken down vehicles blocked lanes, wrong way drivers, accidents ahead and much more. This data will be sent to on-board vehicle data communication units and mobile terminals.

Road users will receive split second information about the status of the road in real-time, allowing them to adapt their behaviour and journey. For autonomous vehicles the data provided by SAFE STRIP sensors is an absolute necessity to operate safely, accurately and efficiently. The road operators, on the other hand, will benefit from real-time monitoring of road pavement conditions allowing them to proactively carryout maintenance and to respond to road incidents better. The result, dramatically reduced road maintenance costs meanwhile travellers will benefit from intelligent transport systems, services and applications supported by this technology. SAFE STRIP therefore has the potential to make roads much safer and more efficient.

The SAFE STRIP project, running from May 2017 until April 2020, is supported by the European Commission’s H2020 program. The project is managed by ERTICO-ITS Europe, with the Technical management handled by the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas’s Hellenic Institute of Transport (CERTH/HIT), and supported by 18 partners in total. The results of the SAFE STRIP project will be tested at five pilot sites throughout Europe.

The SAFE STRIP project has brought together all the necessary parties needed to develop this technology, including the end-users’ Brenner Highway operator A22 in Italy and ATTIKES DIADROMES in Greece. Vehicle manufacturers PIAGGIO and CRF represent the vehicle aspects of the SAFE STRIP ecosystem. First tier service and product providers Valeo, Continental and RE:Lab are taking care of autonomous vehicle applications, smart tires embedding real time estimation of friction coefficient, added value applications and in-vehicle user interfacing. Road maintenance service provider Swarco will develop the necessary road markers technology and integrated Traffic Management services.

Meanwhile a large number of research institutes: Fraunhofer, CERTH, CEA, CIDAUT, the National Research Council of Italy, CTI, ICCS, the University of Patras and the University of Trento are working on the customisation and characterisation of the sensors, the system architecture and specifications, the road topologies and their integration, the implementation of the C-ITS communication technologies, application development and personalisation which will serve as proof of concept, and the validation activities. The project is supported by a highly specialised and renowned Scientific Advisory Board.

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