Valerann and Excelerate Technology have won €1.2m funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) to use satellite technologies for road safety, traffic management and autonomous cars.
Valerann is a UK-Israeli start up uses solar-powered, connected road stud sensors as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) to support autonomous traffic management systems. These wireless sensors collect data about vehicle movement, physical objects and road surface conditions.
It has partnered with Excelerate Technology, a technology company based in Cardiff that offers satellite connectivity solutions and together they formed the ITS Equant consortium.
With the support of the Satellite Applications Catapult, ITS Equant secured funding from the ESA to use satellite communications and GPS technologies to develop Valerann’s system into a 'scalable off-grid solution'.
Gabriel Jacobson, Valerann’s CEO, said: 'The advantages of traffic management are well documented, but both these technologies and future technologies such as autonomous vehicles are highly dependent on connectivity that often does not exist.
'With ITS Equant we will provide roads and road operators a scalable solution that can be deployed on any road, regardless of whether these roads have existing connectivity.'
David Savage, Excelerate Technology’s founder, said: 'Today, 36% of UK highways do not have stable 4G connectivity and many roads have no cellular connectivity whatsoever. We are excited to partner with Valerann and the European Space Agency to create a solution that collects data and provides connectivity on any road to make our journey’s safer and more efficient.'
Valerann and Excelerate Technology will collaborate over the next 18 months to integrate satellite technologies into Valerann’s Smart Road System.
The consortium aims to demonstrate how it can help road operators reduce detection and response time for traffic incidents and increase the effectiveness of counter congestion measures. It also aims to eventually accelerate the introduction of autonomous vehicles.