SEAT Data Office: How big data helps improve road safety?


SEAT Data Office – How big data helps improve road safety?

Dozens of gigabytes are generated completely anonymously while driving your car. This data is collected by the many sensors and on-board electronic components, such as traction control, stability control, the front camera or even radars. Data which, added to that of other vehicles, makes it possible, for example, to locate sections of roads that need to be repaired throughout Europe. How does it work? The team of the new SEAT Data Office is responsible for storing and processing this enormous volume of information: “Thanks to the analysis of this data, we are able to detect anomalies on the infrastructures, which then allows us to helping users, especially in terms of safety, which is our absolute priority ”explains Carlos Buenosvinos, one of the managers.

Data in motion. When you step on the accelerator, or raise or lower a window, the electronic control units emit signals via a 4G connection. These signals are then sent to a server in the cloud. “The first challenge for the Data Office team is to store these large volumes of data. We then have algorithms, mathematical and statistical techniques to process them and draw conclusions ”explains Carlos Buenosvinos. All of this is based on completely anonymous data. “It’s impossible for us to know which vehicle or person the data comes from. In fact, what interests us are the generic data that indicate the trends in road conditions, ”explains Carlos Buenosvinos.

Front row observers. Data from traction control systems, stability control, brakes and temperature of our vehicles, tell us about all the elements that affect the grip of the tires on the road, whether it is accumulation of water, ice or snow up to degraded pavements. “All this information allows us to contribute to the creation of friction maps on a European scale. These can be shared with the navigation services, which alert drivers to potential dangers on the road, or with the infrastructure operators who use them to ensure the proper maintenance of the road network ”explains Víctor Monserrate, who also heads the SEAT Data Office. “They will react not only faster, but also more efficiently because they will not have to constantly scour the roads looking for incidents,” he adds.

Bright data. The analysis of all the information provided by the light sensors makes it possible to identify roads that are too dark. “By being able to know where a vehicle is, at what time of the day and with what level of ambient light, we will know where it is necessary to improve the lighting on the road, we will be able to transmit this information to the services. competent so as to promote road safety, ”explains Carlos Buenosvinos.

A controlled environment. The data from cameras and front sensors allow us to know in real time the parking spaces available in the street, the flow of traffic, or the presence of an obstacle on the road. This information is particularly useful for navigation and emergency services. Another example is the recognition of road signs. If the car trusts its on-board camera on the one hand, but also those of other vehicles and historical information on the other hand, it will be able, for example, to know that there is a stop sign or a continuous line at a precise point . Even though they are not visible at the time for some reason. “As we move towards higher levels of autonomous driving, we will need to make sure twice, three times or even four times that we are in full control of the entire environment around us,” says Víctor Monserrate .

The future lies in data. For Víctor Monserrate, the challenge is to move from treating data as a means, to treating it as a resource, with inherent value. “With the advent of self-driving cars and 5G, the volume of data generated will increase exponentially. And with it, the value that we can extract in the form of new products and services, ”he explains. “The more information we have, the closer we can be to our customers. We will understand them better, and we will be able to be much more attentive to their needs and their motivations, ”adds Carlos Buenosvinos.

Projects with multiple opportunities. The analysis of data from connected cars is just one area the new SEAT Data Office is working on. This multidisciplinary team is also interested in optimizing company operations, by analyzing data from more than 1,000 computer systems. “Our goal is to use this data to improve internal processes, reduce costs, define future strategies and design new business models,” explains Víctor Monserrate. “In the long term, we will be able to use all this knowledge to contribute to a better society, and a more productive industrial ecosystem,” concludes Carlos Buenosvinos.

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