Finalist category: BT Young Pioneer Award
BT Young Pioneer Award, Finalist, 2020
Approximately 1.35 million people die every year as a result of road traffic injuries, according to the World Health Organisation. The main causes are speeding and distracted driving, with 53% of cars exceeding the speed limit on 30mph roads and 25% of drivers admitting to using their phone whilst driving.
Speed Bot was developed, by Sida Li (aged 15), in response to the above findings. The Speed Bot app detects, recognises and informs drivers of traffic signs in their live camera feed in order to improve road safety. It uses two neural networks trained on eight datasets: YOLOv3 – You Only Look Once – for detection, and ResNet for recognition. Traffic signs are crucial as they can immediately relay road information to drivers, yet they can easily be missed. Other solutions to this issue include Intel’s Mobileye and Speedometer Live, but Speed Bot trumps them in both cost and functionality.
However, currently Speed Bot’s neural networks aren’t accurate enough; thus, its latest versions are focused on crowdsourcing training data. Users from all over the globe can send the traffic signs classified correctly (roughly 94-98% of them) through the app to an online database hosted on Google Cloud, which then adds the data to the training dataset. This training data would not only improve Speed Bot’s accuracy, but it could also be used by autonomous driving companies worldwide and help develop the safety of self-driving cars, which have taken the world by storm.
In the future, Sida is planning to release a new version which will provide massive improvements to the user interface, and afterwards, he plans to implement an automatic filtering algorithm for the traffic sign database. His next goal for Speed Bot is to make it detect pedestrians, cyclists and other road features, to further aid the autonomous driving scene.
Currently, only 190 traffic sign images have been uploaded but has a target to get this to 10,000 by the end of the year, with the help of user generated data. After all, Little Data can still make a Big Difference.
The Speed Bot app has been downloaded by over 200 people from 47 countries and is available for free on the Google Play Store.