Machine learning & cyber security to drive future of transport

Posted on 20 Oct 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Cyber security, virtual reality and machine learning have been identified as key areas that will inform and evolve the ever-changing global transport landscape, with a series of ground-breaking research projects being delivered over the coming year by experts from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

The critical topics of cyber security, virtual reality and machine learning are at the centre of the future of transport, with further projects developing the research around areas such as truck platooning; data science; mental health; smart infrastructure; head injuries, and driving simulation.

Funding for the projects is one part of the annual investment made by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in innovative research and development and is supported by parent company, the Transport Research Foundation, a non-profit distributing organisation.

The programme of ten innovative projects was devised by the TRL Academy in response to the challenges facing future transport and further supports TRL’s independence and impartiality.

Professor Nick Reed, director, TRL Academy.
Professor Nick Reed, director, TRL Academy.

TRL Academy Director, Professor Nick Reed explained: “Choosing the projects that will go on to shape policy, design and technological development is always a challenge, but we apply key criteria around ensuring the research is relevant, disruptive and deliverable.

“More than that, it is about providing the TRL team with the opportunity to follow their ideas – no matter how left field – in a structured and strategic way.

Reed added: “I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity and vision of my colleagues as they advance projects beyond the theoretical and deliver practical, evidence-based knowledge which can be applied to solve complex transport challenges.

“With an overall goal to produce a transport system that is safe, clean, affordable, accessible and efficient, it is a real privilege to be at the forefront of such innovative research.”

An overview of the TRL Academy’s reinvestment projects in 2015/16, as well as a glimpse of what is to come in 2016/17, has been released in the TRL Quarterly Research Report (July to September 2016).

Summarising the brief for each of this year’s research topics, the document outlines the key research aims and intended applications for each project, and offers a rare glimpse into some of TRL’s more secretive research in delivering the future of transport.

The report also details the practical outcomes and next steps from six key projects from the previous 12 months, including a smart asset management technology review, data applying science to develop a route risk tool and the environmental impact of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Other projects include developing a cellular automata model for modelling bicycle traffic, investigation fast response NO2 sensor testing equipment and 3D capture and visualisation.