Transport policymakers can soon tap into research gathered by AI technology, to make better decisions on road safety.

Data is a valuable and scarce currency in the fight against road deaths and injuries. 

MARVEL, an EU-funded project looks to combine surveillance cameras and artificial intelligence, computer-simulated human intelligence, to analyse road user behaviour, infrastructural failings, and danger. 

 “The AI technology being developed by the MARVEL team can use a combination of sound and video from existing cameras to detect traffic entities, anomalies, vulnerable road users and much more,” said a statement from Greenroads Limited, the Maltese partner in the project. 

 Car crashes, screeching breaks and horn honking are among the sounds the system can pick up, a spokesperson for Greenroads said.  

The AI system itself anonymises individuals. “No person can be identified, no number plates are read, and all personal information is blurred and removed from audio and video,” he said.   

The system not only recognises motor vehicles but also vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. 

Automatic detection of cyclists, their trajectories, accidents and emergencies previously difficult to detect automatically, can now be analysed, Greenroads says.  

The project is currently in its pilot phase but plans to expand internationally. By the end of next year comprehensive research will be at hand for policymakers to tap into, the Greenroads spokesperson said.

On Monday, the Marvel project will be holding an information day at Spazju Kreattiv, Valletta. The public and experts are invited to attend. 

The safety of Malta’s roads has become a national sore point as the island records new record figures in injuries and fatalities on the roads.

A Malta Medical Journal study said that Malta lacks a consistent and professional road safety campaign to address the increasing number of traffic fatalities. 

Data on road safety is also lacking.   

Under the Maltese system, whenever there is a traffic fatality a magisterial inquiry is held. The inquiry can lead to a person being charged in court months or years later – but the conclusions of the inquiry are not made public.

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