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Smarter Left Turns, Done Right: New Technologies from Applied Information and Wavetronix Boost Traffic Safety

By Alex Passett

Introducing this story for you today, dear readers, came with a slight teeter-totter moment of indecision on my part. Why? Because I relate quite a lot to this news and I want to do it justice.

Here goes:

In 2019 and 2021, my wife and I were unfortunately involved in two car accidents; one was significantly worse than the other, as it involved an unprotected left turn and another person’s vehicle to literally careen into the front office of a local tire service center and general repairs shop. Busted bricks, splintered walls and dislodged mechanical parts littered the scene. (Very thankfully, the office worker was on vacation at the time, so no one in the building was hurt. The driver of the other vehicle also came out nearly unscathed.) Experiences like these have turned into major cautionary tales for us, and since then I’ve kept my eyes peeled for vehicle safety-centric news pieces to dive into in order to let others know what new vehicle features are being rolled out to ideally keep others in the loop and safe. The importance of this is undeniable.

In this vein (now looking at the back half of 2023 by itself), our team covered a handful of vehicle innovation-related stories. They featured custom in-vehicle voice assistants via AI from SoundHound AI, Inc. and mobility solutions provider Togg, companies like Smart Eye and Volvo devising a premium Driver Monitoring System (DMS) that helps drivers avoid collisions, VinCSS and VicONE combining their industry expertise to address growing security vulnerabilities in automotive software, new bus lane and bus stop enforcement systems for smart city applications (courtesy of Hayden AI), and additional enhanced passenger accessibility options from Autonomous Mobility-as-a-Service (AMaaS)  provider Beep and vehicle software company Oxa. (These articles can be found here on Smart City Sentinel, as well as on sister sites of ours like IoT Evolution World our IoT Autonomous Vehicle Feature News.)

Earlier this year, I also published one of our many stories on Peachtree Corners, a premier smart-everything city environment found in Gwinnett County, Georgia. (That happened to pertain to vehicles, as well.)

Now, I’d like to combine each of these ideas in tandem with some of the latest news:

Intelligent transportation infrastructure technology company Applied Information – with its teams that create smart city solutions for improving traffic, driving commerce, and saving lives – recently entered a new partnership with Wavetronix and its creators of innovative tools that help increase traffic safety with advanced radar systems, among other offerings. This team-up is highlighted by an already successful collaboration completed in Peachtree Corners that demonstrated how a car crash reduction of 25% is achievable through AI analyses of left turn incidents and the new technologies that follow.

Brandon Branham, Assistant City Manager of Peachtree Corners, noted the impact of the installation: “Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, one of our pilot locations, saw upwards of six car crashes annually. Since piloting this technology, police reports have shown a 25% decrease in accidents at this left turn location.”

Crossing lanes, as we know, is a leading cause of crashes; left turns account for more than half of these (when crossing the pathway of other vehicles), according to The Washington Post’s report on this federal study.

So, Applied Information’s Intelligent Left Turn Solution is being put into action. It alerts motorists when it’s unsafe to make what could presumed to be a quote-unquote “safe” left turn, when really there may be unseen danger. Utilizing unique radar detection, cloud computing and an advanced algorithm, it monitors the speed and trajectory of oncoming traffic to trigger warnings and highlight areas with obstructed views (or with high-speed oncoming vehicles that could cause traffic gap misjudgments).

This is not, of course, to say it’s utterly foolproof; little is, these days. But still, given Applied Information’s and Wavetronix’s C-V2X (Connected Vehicle to Everything)-compatible technologies, the solution is a step in a safe direction. (The right one, even with left turns… Yes, pun intended.)

Bryan Mulligan, President and CEO of Applied Information, also commented on the impacts of this collab: “The challenge of the unprotected left turn is a significant one in the traffic industry. This advanced technology can contribute to a significantly better and safer world – and widespread adoption of this technology has the potential to save many, many lives."

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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