Big data can improve driver and operational safety, Microlise told delegates at Freight in the City 2017, after a trial with Innovate UK captured seven billion truck miles of information.

Matt Hague, executive director – product strategy, at Microlise, said: “There is a lot of technology on the vehicle now that can help you manage risk. That’s everything from tracking, to cameras, and increasingly artificial intelligence. There is a lot of information out there to help you manage risk and manage your fleet more safely.”

Microlise has been working with Innovate UK, generating seven billion miles of truck data from throughout the UK – and has been merging it with external data sources, such as weather, traffic, and mapping.

Hague said that with the data pool growing all of the time, the information generated in the trial would allow local authorities to map to start making some planning decisions – as well as allowing operators to make smart decisions about deliveries.

“Using all of that data [HGV drivers] are generating, you can automatically understand how risky that route is. Then you make the decision on who is driving that route, a subbie or a member of staff, or do you de-route?

“It’s also about giving the driver real-time feedback when you approach those hazards – low bridges, areas where there have been cycle accidents.. but also areas of speeding, or harsh braking zones. Then you can figure out your hot-spots,” he said.

Hague said that utilising big data as part of the driving experience, warning drivers of potential hazards ahead, the plan is not to overwhelm the driver with data, but “give the driver a warning that they are about to hit a bridge – or warn them of impending risk”.

“The other reason we did this is that autonomous vehicles are going to happen. Lots of questions around that: Can our infrastructure support it? Is it safe? When the vehicle supports more and more what the driver is doing, the amount of data can only grow and grow,” he said.

“This project was about strategic planning, tactical planning and giving that information in real-time, at the right level."