An Israeli startup leveraging artificial intelligence and predictive analytics has helped the city of Las Vegas improve road safety and reduce vehicle crashes by some 17 percent on a stretch of one of its busiest highways.
According to a report this past week in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a yearlong pilot program between Israeli-founded company Waycare, which developed an AI-driven mobility platform for traffic data management, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), has yielded promising results for traffic management and reduction of car accidents along a stretch of northbound Interstate 15 in the city, near the Las Vegas Strip.
Sign up for our free weekly newsletterSubscribe
Founded in 2016 in Palo Alto, California, and with offices in Tel Aviv, Waycare seeks to enable cities to take control of their roads by harnessing in-vehicle information and municipal traffic data for predictive insights and proactive traffic management optimization. Its technology collects historical and real-time data from both external and internal sources – such as connected car platforms, in-vehicle telematics, camera feeds, sensors, navigation apps, city infrastructure data points, and public transit sources – to help municipalities and other public bodies like law enforcement, traffic operations, and emergency services, improve road safety, manage congestion and respond quickly to events such as car breakdowns and accidents.
In Las Vegas, for example, Waycare identified areas of high-risk along the stretch where the program was implemented, and alerted transport agencies where and when to take preventatives measures.
The RTC then used dynamic message boards to relay advanced warnings of an incident, alerting drivers to slow down and drive more cautiously, while the Nevada Highway Patrol “deploys its vehicles in high-visibility mode along the freeway in conjunction with NDOT, which assures that safety barriers are in place for the police officers on freeways,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
During the program, 91 percent of drivers traveling at over 65 MPH, reduced their speed to below 65 MPH in the area where preventative measures were deployed, Waycare said in a statement.
“Groundbreaking partnerships like this enable Southern Nevada to continue to lead the way in leveraging advanced technologies to dramatically improve traffic safety and efficiency,” RTC general manager Tina Quigley said in a statement cited in the report.
“These latest statistics coupled with the fact that we are identifying accidents up to 12 minutes faster with the Waycare platform helps translate what public and private partnerships can do and that AI is working to modernize and create a better transportation system for all,” she added.
Waycare co-founder and CEO Noam Maital said “the results of this pilot program are a clear signal that AI and deep learning, when deployed in collaboration with traffic management and enforcement agencies, can have a dramatic impact on improving the safety of even our busiest and most at-risk freeways.”
“Traditionally, law enforcement has relied on anecdotal evidence to determine where to deploy resources to respond to traffic related issues,” said Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Solow from the Nevada Highway Patrol in a statement. “Now, with the technology that Waycare has brought to Southern Nevada, the Highway Patrol can proactively deploy units into an area when the system identifies a high likelihood of something happening and prevent crashes before they even happen. This translates into significantly faster treatment for those injured in crashes, quicker clearance and restoration of normal traffic flow, and untold millions of dollars in commerce related delays that are prevented.”
Nevada state officials said they plan to use the program in other areas of the Las Vegas Valley. Waycare CIO Shai Suzan tells NoCamels that the company has signed multi-year programs across the state.
Waycare is also running a pilot program in Tampa, Florida where there is “cross-collaboration among the city’s traffic management department as well as police, fire and dispatch agencies, all of which are focused on improving safety and gaining efficiencies,” according to a Government Technology report.
A city official said the Israeli company’s pilot is successful “mainly because Waycare relies on so many different types of feeds that it gets information fast, and it can verify that information better than most other agencies that require a little bit more manual interaction.
Suzan tells NoCamels that the startup has a number of ongoing projects that include pilots and paid contracts in other counties in Florida, as well as California, and Delaware.
He says Waycare is working on starting a comprehensive pilot in Tel Aviv, and other Israeli cities.
Suzan says the company is focused on three areas: “First is the optimization of traffic and traffic management; second is the improved response time, as we saw in Nevada, of about 12 minutes, and crash reduction; and third is access to in-vehicle information to allow agencies to send notifications and warnings.”
To that end, Waycare has partnered with third parties. In April, the company announced an important partnership with another Israeli-founded firm, the navigation tech company Waze, sold to Google in 2013, for data sharing and building a more complete picture of a given city’s road conditions.
Waze has some 100 million users in 185 countries worldwide.
“Waze, from the navigation side, is the most developed, methodical two-way communication partnership we have,” Maital told VentureBeat. “Waycare is providing direct relevant insights from traffic operations and emergency services to the public.”
“Our partnership with Waze will further enable municipalities using Waycare’s traffic management platform to unlock critical operational insights to improve traffic flow and traffic safety,” he added.
Waycare has raised $2.3 million so far, according to Crunchbase, and was founded by Maital, Suzan, and Idan Hahn, who serves as CTO.