WE refer to the letter headlined “Look into drones for road safety” which was published in The Star, April 28 (online at bit.ly/star_drones).
PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) would like to thank reader J.D. Lovrenciear for his suggestion of the use of drone technology to patrol highways. In fact, we welcome any suggestions about making highways safer.
On the use of drones, we wish to highlight that PLUS currently uses drones for slope maintenance along our highway. The drones are used to carry out visual inspections and capture images of more than 6,000 slopes along the highway. As the current aviation regulation warrants the use of drones only within line of sight, the drones must be flown within the line of sight although they can be programmed with global GPS coordinates for automatic flight.
Based on our research, current commercial grade drones are
unable to fly up and down along our approximately 1,000km stretch of highway due to battery limitations.
Therefore, to circumvent the limitations, we are currently investing in video analytics technology by retrofitting the existing 1,040 surveillance CCTV cameras along the highway and all the rest and service areas to make the highway safer.
These cameras are currently being upgraded to support video analytics with machine learning capability to automatically detect traffic and abnormal situational scenarios on the highway as well as at rest and service areas. We believe that the use of video analytics is a better option as it is permanent feature, complete with 24/7, 365-day recordings.
PLUS takes the safety of our customers seriously with various and continuous approaches and initiatives in place to make the highway safer, such as the 3E approach encompassing Enforcement, Education and Engineering.
Engineering touches on continuous application of the latest technologies and road safety standards on the highway, most notably at accident-prone areas or “blackspots”, such as pavement upgrades, new and improved road safety furniture and the video analytics technology, to name a few.
Enforcement looks at continuous collaboration with relevant enforcement agencies such as the police and Road Transport Department for joint operations such as Ops Bersepadu, Ops Halangan and numerous others to summon traffic violators along the highway. As of April 2019, we have conducted 70 joint operations with these enforcement agencies. While our enforcement powers are limited to traffic congestion management and inspection only, this collaboration enables us to ensure the safety of our customers.
Through Education, we continuously organise road safety programmes and campaigns for highway customers and fence-line communities along the highway to promote road safety awareness. One of the efforts that we are currently embarking on is a series of highway safe driving videos via our #HeroSelamat campaign. The videos can now be viewed on YouTube and PLUS online channels.
The higher purpose of PLUS is always to take care of our customers every step of the way.
DATUK AZMAN ISMAIL
PLUS Malaysia Berhad