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UK Gov opens up road data access for AI applications

The UK government has just announced plans to use artificial intelligence (AI) to help drivers avoid holiday jams in the future.

A press release on the GOV.UK website said these improvements will be done by opening data access to planned changes to the road network to tech firms, thus allowing them to predict and solve potential traffic jams up to months in advance on the predicted 50,000 yearly road closures.

“As a road user, there is nothing more frustrating than discovering roadworks and getting stuck in traffic jams,” said George Freeman, Minister for the Future of Transport.

“Today’s announcement will help open up data, reducing congestion, pollution and frustration for road users.”

The data will be made available through a review of TROs (Traffic Regulation Orders) legislation, the orders behind restrictions on the road network which allow for temporary roadworks or permanent changes to the road.

Companies will then be able to access this data and develop navigational apps powered by AI that will warn drivers up to months in advance of planned disruption to routes, as well as offer them alternatives to help save time and money.

The UK Department of Transport said it looks forward to collaborating with local authorities and the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) sector in order to make travelling across the UK “cleaner and greener, safer, easier and more reliable.”

Traffic jams are an expensive problem in the UK. An investigation conducted by the Telegraph last year showed that they cost the average motorist more than £1,000 a year.

The new government initiative comes as part of the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, a plan devised to enhance current legislation to maximise the potential of future technologies.

According to the GOV.UK press release on the matter, opening up TRO data could in the future also help with route planning systems for self-driving vehicles, consequently strengthening the position of the country in the international tech scene.

Image via Pixabay.

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