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Smart Eyes of Smart Cities

Can something as common as a camera be transformed into a complex mobile monitoring system for advanced analysis of traffic? Can we distinguish anomalous and aggressive behavior of drivers, acquire full trajectories of vehicles or even detect traffic accidents before they happen? These are some of the questions that the newest edition of a smart city magazine called D!CITY tries to answer, which included also two smart city solutions using cameras: DataFromSky and ParkingDetection and also smart city platform of our partner OMS Lighting.

In the past, the main task for cameras was to record stories, which could be, unfortunately, interpreted only by humans. Nowadays, thanks to the increasing availability of high-quality cameras and mainly due to the immense technological advancement in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the camera has become a universal sensor with application in many fields of the smart city concept, as they can serve as “the smart eyes of smart cities”. This marks the beginning of a new era, where image can be processed also by machines and where camera represents a rich source of data at even very low costs. What are the main areas of traffic analysis, where a camera already proves itself in action?

In times where individual transport increases faster than ever before, traffic congestions or even collapses can occur on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are systems which can help to achieve more fluent traffic even without expensive infrastructure changes, you just need a certain bird’s eye view. If we give camera “wings”, for example by attaching it to an unmanned aerial vehicle, we get a monitoring system for advanced traffic analysis which is not only very accurate but also at an affordable price. This is exactly what our project DataFromSky deals with – as there are several research projects that require just this type of traffic analysis. The system can detect vehicles and other participants of the traffic flow, which includes not only their trajectories and speed but also detection of possibly dangerous behavior with deep-learning and artificial intelligence. This can even detect traffic accidents before they actually happen, which can provide the traffic engineers with very valuable data about causes of traffic accidents within the tested area in order to look for ways how to avoid them in the future with convenient preventive measures.

Cameras are becoming a prominent technology for traffic analysis also at so-called “adaptive intersections”, as they can accurately detect not only vehicles, but also pedestrians and cyclists, which also play an important role in the given traffic flow. With smart traffic lights control, based on data from a network of sensors, the whole system becomes way more fluent and flexible when it comes to reaction to rapid changes within the traffic, making it also a lot safer. Another use of cameras lies in the field of smart lighting, as the camera can collect visual data and use to analyze public spaces, monitor traffic or detect anomalous behavior. This gives us many possibilities of designing smart streets with the use of a smart camera system, using something as common as public lighting.

Traffic congestion can be also caused by the situation in parking, especially in situations when drivers are trying to find an empty parking space in an infrastructure, which is already overloaded. One of the possible solutions is to use current parking spots more effectively or even navigate drivers to parking lots with available places to park their car. This is the main area of focus of the system called ParkingDetection. As far as technical and economic aspects are concerned, a camera represents a suitable sensorial solution for monitoring of even tens or hundreds of parking spots, as even very large parking lots can be covered by a single smart camera at very low costs, while magnetic sensors would be extremely expensive and even less accurate. If we also add an ALPR camera for number plate reading into the system, we get a significant number of potential technical solutions for residential parking, reservation of individual parking spots or even increased safety within the parking lot.

Are we on the brink of an age of cameras? In the not-so-distant past, autonomous vehicles, or using drones for traffic analysis would sound like science fiction. Nowadays, these technologies are already becoming a reality, also thanks to the advancement in cameras and artificial intelligence. It is becoming clear that cameras will play an important role in the future of smart cities.

The whole magazine can be found at this link.

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Improving the traffic conditions in Brussel with DataFromSky

Our partner Roelofs has made an analysis with DataFromSky for a big junction in the city center of Brussel, Belgium. The analysis covers the junction between the Leopold II Lane and Sainctelette – one of the biggest and most complex junctions in Brussel. In this case, the video is made by a tethered drone to get a longer survey. Thanks to DataFromSky, it is possible to create a detailed traffic study which was handled to the government of Brussel and its Mobility department, providing the correct data for creating solutions that can improve the traffic flow and safety of this junction.

DataFromSky Aerial analysis is providing complete and detailed telemetry data about each traffic participant:

  • complete object trajectories (time, position, speed, acceleration in coordinate system UTM or WGS84) – visualization in program or various exports
  • classification of all objects into 7 main categories (including bicycles and pedestrians)
  • vehicle counts via configurable counting gates
  • detailed OD matrix and turning movements count in defined directions
  • speed and acceleration anywhere in the scene, heatmaps
  • lane assignment
  • measurement of critical headway (gap) and follow-up headway
  • safety analysis (Time to collision measurement, PET, Heavy breaking etc.)
  • and much more!
  • Do you want to use DataFromSky project in your project? Contact us with your query!

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    DataFromSky Aerial analysis in the Netherlands

    ROELOFS, an exclusive partner of DataFromSky in the Netherlands, carried out comprehensive traffic research of a traffic node in the province of Gelderland. The data collected with a drone and analyzed by DataFromSky Aerial platform will be used as the main source for a study for planned major maintenance in 2021.

    The drone was deployed at the roundabout of the N318 Misterweg in Winterswijk. When preparing for the major maintenance of this road, it is also being examined whether road safety can be improved. Besides other things, DataFromSky offers many great features for analysis of traffic behavior and road safety, including analysis of risky situations or near collisions, calculation of Time to Collision, Heavy Breaking and analysis of many other factors.
    For many years, the data were collected by people standing on the side and observing the traffic, then the data were evaluated manually. This process was lengthy, inefficient, and had low-precision data output. All of these shortcomings are overtaken with a new modern approach combining 2 great technologies of today world: drones and AI.


    Traffic flow – trajectories: green – cars, yellow – heavy vehicles, red – bicycles, blue – pedestrians

    Read a post in “de Gerlander” online magazine.

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    Advanced roundabout analysis with DataFromSky

    Need to perform operational analysis of a roundabout based on the real traffic data? DataFromSky supports the calculation of a wide range of operational parameters such as critical-gap time / follow-up time / critical headway etc. Get super accurate traffic data for your research and/or traffic study regardless of the type of intersection using DataFromSky.

    Monitoring and analyzing traffic behavior at intersections and roundabouts is an important task in the present traffic research. Trajectory analysis provides higher-level situational awareness by understanding the behavior of every traffic element in the analyzed scene due to the rich information contained in its own motion. DataFromSky is able to extract trajectories and their spatial-temporal statistical characteristics automatically with very high accuracy and high sampling frequency. Accurate traffic data is essential in any modern research in the field of traffic analysis such as:

  • Motion pattern classification, Abnormal motion pattern detection,
  • Traffic mining, Prediction of non-recurrent short-term traffic patterns,
  • Developing next-generation driving behavior models, Trajectory clustering,
  • New perspective on merging behavior – gap seeking instead of acceptance behavior,
  • Evaluation of traffic simulation methods / models on real data, Capacity estimations,
  • Traffic congestion studies, Travel-time, Vehicle counting, Trajectory based analysis,
  • Road safety, Pedestrian and cyclist safety, Road-user interactions, Smart analysis,
  • Driver decision making and complex multi-actor interactions, Traffic instabilities,
  • Empirical evidence of multi-anticipation (drivers have multiple leaders),
  • Study of behavior adaptation effect.
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    Automatic traffic analysis on an area of 55,000 square meters? Possible!

    Object counting and classification, gathering speed & acceleration data, O/D matrix and much more on an area of 55,000 square meters. DataFromSky is the name of the most advanced Aerial AI for an understanding of movements in videos taken by drones, balloons or helicopters.

    Take a look at another nice shot from Italy taken from a balloon. The length of the video is 2 hours and 31 minutes. DataFromSky tracked 5 455 objects (4881 cars, 325 medium vehicles, 77 heavy vehicles, 68 buses, 101 motorcycles, 1 bicycle, and 2 pedestrians) with the average speed of 12.24 km/h and the total distance traveled by all participants reaching 1 847 km! Do you need extremely accurate data about traffic flow? Contact us!

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    Grant from TACR for DataFromSky project

    We are happy to announce that we have succeeded with our proposed project and get supported in Programme Epsilon 2 conducted by Technological Agency of Czech Republic:

    System for Preemptive Safety Analysis of Road Network Nodes and Traffic Flow
    The aim of the project is development of a preemptive quantitative system for analysis of road network nodes in terms of safety. The system will be
    based on analysis of time-space information about each individual traffic member. The information will be automatically extracted with high precision
    and frequency from video data collected by UAVs. The trajectory data extracted from video will be analyzed in terms of traffic safety, based on
    detection of non-standard and aggressive behaviour, conflict situations, incomfort during passage etc.

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    DataFromSky & COWI – traffic analysis in Copenhagen

    DataFromSky in cooperation with COWI is coming with a new traffic analysis from Denmark! As in all other major cities, massive amounts of traffic goes in and out of Copenhagen every day. This leads to congestion and the everlasting discussion on how to effectively move as many people as possible. In Copenhagen, almost 50 percent of all commuting trips are made using bicycles. This results in numerous potential conflicts between bicycles and cars, and the battle for allocating and distributing sheer road surface space between the transport modes is continually on – especially at certain locations, where available space is scarce. One such place is “Christmas Moellers Plads”, an intersection complex connecting inner Copenhagen to the island Amager. Through the use of a specialized UAV and Data From Sky, COWI has obtained a complete 4-hour overview of traffic passing through this complex for both cyclists and motorists – and the interaction between the two. The data extracted now forms the basis for looking into new and better solutions that will keep this people mover perform at its best.

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    Multilevel intersection – no problem for DataFromSky

    We never rested on our laurels! Our tool for trajectory interpretation DataFromSky Viewer is being constantly evolved and now comes with few new functionalities!

    Multilevel intersection detection
    DataFromSky can track vehicles in multilevel roads! As the video shows, we can track all the vehicles even when the visual occlusion appears. DataFromSky can follow the whole trajectory of the car for the tracked time and collect reliable data – average speed, acceleration, gap-time, time to follow, heatmaps or dimensions of vehicles.

    Stationary time
    Since now, we are able to count the time, for which is the vehicle in a stationary position, in other words, how long the vehicle has to wait until it passes some obstacle (intersection, traffic lights, traffic jam etc.). This figure may help to determine the utilization and load of a traffic junction.

    Video parameters:
    Hight: 81 m, top-down view
    Tool: drone
    Place: multilevel intersection, Kato Varibobi – Greece

    Take a look at the video below, demonstrating new useful functionalities of DataFromSky!

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    Transforming aerial video data into knowledge

    DataFromSky is a unique solution for motion analysis of aerial video data. The ability to detect, track and classify moving objects from aerial videos provided by drones, fixed cameras or other video sources opens new possibilities in the field of traffic monitoring. The technology behind is under intensive development and grows more efficient every day through the embedded capability of learning from its mistakes. We are happy to announce that we have made a significant step towards enhanced accuracy thanks to the complex integration of deep neural networks into DataFromSky framework. Our deep neural networks are being trained on millions of samples 24 hours a day. The quality is quite impressive right now!

    Our tool for trajectory interpretation DataFromSky Viewer also comes with a new functionality. The new version extracts parameters which are sometimes difficult to obtain, such as gap-time, time to follow, heatmaps, and dimensions of vehicles. We recognize the potential of the data we are able to obtain, and, therefore, co-work on our tools with traffic researchers and traffic engineers worldwide. The video below demonstrates the new functionality of DataFromSky Viewer. Take a look!

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    Traffic monitoring in Denmark – the land of bikes

    Recently we got to analyzing a video of a roundabout in Roskilde, Denmark. And because Denmark is called: The land of bikes, we didn’t focus only on vehicles but also on bikes! And here is the result of our traffic monitoring:

    Length of analyzed video: 15:38.48
    Number of objects being tracked: 298 (vehicles and bicycles)
    Total distance traveled: 79 354.4 m
    Average speed: 34.0233 km per hour
    Average distance on roundabout: 59.7474 m

    And we would also like to thank Dansk Drone Kompagni for providing us the video.

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