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What is the accuracy of small UAVs in traffic measuring?

New research paper called “How accurate are small drones for measuring microscopic traffic parameters?” published in Transportation Letters Journal can provide an answer. Adam Babinec, one of the main IT developers standing behind DataFromSky solution, co-author of the article conducted by University of Athens and Brno University of Technology, says:
„With this paper, we wanted to examine the potential of using sUAV as part of the ITS infrastructure as a way of extracting naturalistic trajectory data from aerial video footage from a low volume intersection and a pedestrian passage. Moreover, we have examined the accuracy of speed data collected from a drone compared to data collected from an On-Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II) device.”

The results show, that the distortion correction and calibration phase of the video are of crucial importance for high level of accuracy, in terms of stabilizing and geo-referencing the video. In order to extract accurate data from drone video footage, each aerial video must be stabilized to compensate for camera movement, since sudden vibrations or small wind gusts can lead to large errors on the ground.

Picture: a lightweight hexacopter (left), study area – low volume intersection in University of Athens campus (right)

The research paper is accessible on this page.

The accuracy of DataFromSky system itself was examined in another research paper, created in collaboration with Faculty of Information Technology and Faculty of Civil Engineering at Brno University of Technology and posted in International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology, for more information click here.

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DataFromSky joins the conference TIS ROMA 2017

DataFromSky will participate in the International Congress on Transport infrastructure and systems (TIS) held in Rome in April 12.! You have a great chance to see DataFromSky in action and assess its capabilities. Don’t hesitate and visit the TIS conference in Rome to find out more!

One of the main topic discussed on the conference will be the emissions caused by traffic and their impact on human health. The EU Commission is preparing a strategy for clean transport, which should become effective after 2020 and it is in compliance with the strategy proposal for low-emission transport. One of the significant impulses is the increasing air pollution in cities and a high share (up to one third) of road transport in the creation of greenhouse gases. Nowadays, the total share of transport in the creation of greenhouse gases is around 23% (according to data collected by EUROSTAT).

What we are going to present on the Congress, is the possible approaches to solve this topical issue by using data obtained from the DataFromSky software for modelling of intensities and emission from traffic. This tool uses real traffic information about the monitored traffic area, such as the type of the passing vehicles, speed, acceleration profile or traffic density. Using these mentioned data, application of the DataFromSky software to measure the emission load in cities is currently being dealt with. The aim is to create a supporting tool for traffic control, which is in accordance with the Smart Cities concept and leads to reducing the emission load from traffic. We actively collaborate on this project with top researchers from Institute of Forensic Engineering of Brno University of Technology (doc. Ing. Vladimir Adamec, Csc. & Ing. Barbora Schullerova, Ph.D.) . This issue opens the door for further research and implementation in traffic research.

Other participant of the conference will be Andrea Marella, engineer at TrafficLab, our service partner from Italy. His paper “Implementing traffic simulation models with aerial traffic survey” descibes the method how to obtain both a complex set of data of OD matrix and detailed human driver behaviours data in order to set a specific scenario simulation. DataFromSky tool was involved and used in this research as well.

The whole program of the conference and the list of participants can be found here

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National Technical University of Athens PTW research using DataFromSky

The PhD candidate Emmanouil Barmpounakis and his supervisors Dr. John Golias and Dr. Eleni Vlahogianni from The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens are using DataFromSky to study Powered Two Wheelers’ (PTW) overtaking phenomena using the principles of Game Theory:

Both the PTW driver and the driver of the vehicle being overtaken are assumed to be rational decision-makers that develop strategies, while commuting in urban environment, trying to get the best outcome for their decisions. These strategies may be cooperative or not based on both drivers’ choices with respect to the distances and safety gaps they leave from the lead vehicle. Since PTW follow unorthodox trajectories, especially in an urban arterial, having detailed naturalistic data is essential, and this is how DFS comes in handy!

We are always looking for partners from academic sphere. Are you a researcher in traffic or civil engineering? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

This video is an excerpt with no motorcycles present. You can see some new features of the Viewer: a lateral acceleration heatmap, distance measurement, and a testing bounding box makes a guest appearance too. Heatmap overlay is a completely new feature: When activated, you can configure it to display a scalar value. You can currently select from various speed, count and acceleration types of quantity. The color map and its value range are configurable as well.


  1. Barmpounakis, Emmanouil N., Eleni I. Vlahogianni, and John C. Golias. “A Game Theoretic Approach to Powered Two Wheelers Overtaking Phenomena.” Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting. No. 15-1425. 2015.
  2. Barmpounakis, E.N., Vlahogianni, E.I., & Golias, J.C. (2016). Intelligent Transportation Systems and Powered Two Wheelers Traffic, IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 17(4), 908-916.
  3. Barmpounakis, E. N., E. I. Vlahogianni, and J. C. Golias. “Vision-based multivariate statistical modeling for powered two-wheelers maneuverability during overtaking in urban arterials.” Transportation Letters: The International Journal of Transportation Research (2015): 1942787515Y-0000000020
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Human convoy simulation tracked with DataFromSky

Researchers from Technical University of Brno recently had an interesting idea: Use a number of students to simulate a convoy with human drivers and measure the dynamics of that situation. To do so, they turned to DataFromSky, their trusted research partner.

It is no coincidence that DFS turned out to be a great tool for such situation – our long-term vision is to be the tool for spatial movement analysis. The students’ positions were marked manually; the rest of needed processing was already part of our software.

Enough rambling, take a look!

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Curtin U evaluate UAV use for traffic data

Sam Ziusudras, from Curtin University’s Civil Engineering department is evaluating the reliability of the traffic data obtained from small Unmanned Airborne Vehicles in generating Origin-Destination matrices for intersections. As a part of this study, Sam and the research team will be flying a drone to capture video from the flow of the traffic through an intersection in Western Australia. The trajectories would then be extracted using DataFromSky Services, and finally compared to the ‘manual count’ of volume studies for any discrepancies.

Here’s a video from their first test:

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Motorcycle traffic monitoring and interaction research

Every now and then, an unique and interesting use case for DataFromSky comes up. The Department of Transportation Planning and Engineering at National Technical University of Athens is planning to use DataFromSky for traffic monitoring – to study interactions between powered two-wheelers (PTW) and other vehicles. They have already published a number of papers, dealing with powered two-wheelers’ overtaking in context of game theory or modelling based on multivariate statistics [1][2].

The smaller size of PTWs makes it possible to keep moving and overtaking even in conditions where cars are immobilized. In some countries, PTWs are either a dominant form of traffic, or take up a large share. Given these facts, there is a lot of opportunities to build a better understanding of their interactions – and hopefully also safety in these situations.

Below is a short video which we analyzed as a demonstration for the Greek scientists.

[1] Barmpounakis, Emmanouil N., Eleni I. Vlahogianni, and John C. Golias (2015). “A Game Theoretic Approach to Powered Two Wheelers Overtaking Phenomena.” Transportation Research Board 94th Annual Meeting. No. 15-1425

[2] Barmpounakis, E.N., Vlahogianni, E.I., & Golias, J.C. (2016). Intelligent Transportation Systems and Powered Two Wheelers Traffic, IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 17(4), 908-916.

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