On 17 September 2020, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, in collaboration with the Malaysian Technical Standards Forum Bhd (MTSFB), concluded a year-long research grant project that is set to reduce the number of road accidents by actively monitoring heavy vehicle drivers in real time. The Advanced Vehicle Monitoring and Assistance System (AVMS) for Heavy Vehicles, which is developed by a research team at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, monitors drivers to ensure that they are alerted whenever they are diverted from their lanes, when they are drowsy or when they are driving above the speed limit.
The research project, which is funded through an MTSFB grant in 2019, is comprised of team leader, Mr. Jaysern Pang Jia Yew, lecturer, Ir. Dr. Bhuvendhraa Rudrusamy, research assistant, Teoh Hock Chye, and Electrical and Electronic Engineering graduates, Julian Goh Hui Man and Lim Chun Zhe. In a showcase to demonstrate the final outcomes of their project at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) auditorium, the team conducted a live driving demonstration of how the system works, and showed how the system, when implemented nationwide, can help reduce the high fatality rate on Malaysian roads.
According to Mr. Jaysern Pang, the project idea came about with the main intention to adopt innovative IoT cloud technology that can reduce road accidents that are mainly due to human error. “It is hoped that the technology we have developed will eventually benefit all Malaysians, be it from policy makers to road users,” he said.
The system, which is based on the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT), enables the introduction of Pre-Crash Management and Enforcement System which is the 6th Strategic Pillar in its framework of Road Safety Plan of Malaysia 2014 – 2020. The system is designed to feed real-time data into a cloud network which can be managed by a fleet management centre. The device, when installed into a vehicle, can monitor real-time speed, driver’s alertness and lane deviation without a vehicle indicator. The network system ensures a closed-loop monitoring and alert system where both the driver and management are informed about the status of the transportation ecosystem and safety.
Pn. Zaleha Abu Bakar, the General Manager for MTSFB praised the project’s features and its potential to expand its usability. “One of the key features in this solution is its alarm function which triggers based on the driver behaviour at the wheel. This feature will help improve the degree of alertness among fatigued drivers.” She further added that the AVMS is one of the potential solutions in road safety initiatives for the nation.
The device is currently being pitched to industries to move it into the commercialisation stage. It is hoped that if the system is implemented nationwide, public safety can be increased especially when used on public transportation and heavy vehicles. This would also translate to lower insurance premiums, reduce expenses related to road-related accidents and enable smart city transportation.