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MOM Singapore crowdsourcing technological solutions to reduce work?related fatal vehicular accidents

Above photo: Issues on construction site/ Credit: MOM 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore issued a call for collaboration on Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Technology Challenge on 4 September 2017. It’s an invitation to all companies and research institutes to collaborate with MOM and other public agencies such as Traffic Police, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) and SPRING Singapore, to co-create solutions that will address the current WSH challenges.

This followed PM Lee Hsien Loong’s announcement of a new target to reduce Singapore’s rate to below 1.0 per 100,000 in ten years’ time, before 2028 (last year the workplace fatality rate was 1.9).

MOM is looking for work-related vehicular safety solutions to improve safety and operational efficiency within worksites and public roads. Work‐related vehicular accidents were the top contributor to workplace fatalities from 2013 to 2016, with a total of 82 lives lost in this period.  57% of the fatal accidents occurred within worksites (such as construction sites or warehouses), with the remaining 43% on public roads. Accidents could usually be attributed to one or a combination of three factors: 1) Blind spots, failing to keep a proper lookout when manoeuvring the vehicle; 2) Unsafe driver behaviour, such as falling to give way, failing to maintain proper control over the vehicle; and 3) Driver fatigue or distraction.  

In view of these factors, three challenge statements have been issued. Participants may also propose new solutions that do not fit within any of the three challenge statements, but are expected to be able to significantly reduce vehicular‐related workplace accidents.   

The first one is to enhance driver situational awareness around the vehicle, in both an open road and closed worksite environment, allowing them to avoid and mitigate imminent collisions with other road and worksite users such as cyclists, pedestrians, other workers and vehicles. Solution features could include detection of objects and people in blind spots and warning driver, warning nearby people of oncoming vehicle and displaying full or extended panoramic view of vehicle surroundings especially during cornering or reversing.

The second challenge statement is to improve driving behaviour across a spectrum of vocational vehicles, from heavy vehicles to motorcycles, by measuring driving performance and nudging drivers towards adopting good driving habits. Measurements could cover cornering, acceleration, braking and speeding. The solution could also track dangerous driving manoeuvres such as close headway, lane departure, forward collision and warn drivers through visual or audio alerts.

The third challenge is to reduce risks associated with fatigue driving. The solution should be able to monitor the fatigue level of the driver and episodes of distraction.  It should intervene in a timely manner to prevent accident risks. It should also be seamlessly integrated with other capabilities that can improve driver situational awareness, especially of blind spots, in an open road setting, and warn against dangerous driver behaviour. 

Both Research & Developmental (R&D) solutions, which require development and/or validation in laboratory or operational environment and Ready-to-Go (RTG) solutions fully ready for operational deployment are being sought. All solutions are required to be operable in demanding and harsh working environment and designed with open interface standards for scalability and integration to other systems. The solution should provide data to employers to detect and analyse near‐misses, poor practices, review them, and avoid future accidents and it should generate at least 25% of increased operational efficiency.

S$2M (up to 70% of eligible costs) has been set aside to support proposals that have the potential to build industry’s WSH capability and bring up the WSH standards at workplaces.

Awarded applications will be able to test‐bed their R&D prototypes or deploy their RTG solutions in real‐world environments with test‐bedding partner companies, to verify the solutions’ effectiveness and viability. 

The possible test-bedding sites and other relevant facilities to conduct their test-bedding. The possible test-bedding sites relevant to the first challenge statement may include, but are not limited to open worksites, general factory or warehouse and sample size from a fleet of commercial vehicles. The deadline for submission is November 15, while the final selections would be announced by mid-March next year. 

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