This 'Smart' Pedestrian Crossing Will Adapt to Keep You Safe

Prototype Is the Latest Innovation From Saatchi and Direct Line Insurance's Campaign to Improve Lives

Published On
Oct 09, 2017

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U.K. insurance company Direct Line won several awards this year, including a Gold Lion at Cannes, with Fleetlights, an app that helps provide streetlighting for rural areas using drones. Now, the brand continues with its mission to improve the safety of people's everyday lives with a new campaign in which it creates "smarter" pedestrian crossings.

Once again conceived by Saatchi & Saatchi London, the prototype "Smart Crossing" is a responsive road crossing that differentiates between vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists automatically. It uses computer vision technology to "see" exactly what's happening around it and an LED road surface to adapt its markings and signals in real-time without manual input.

For example, it could widen to accomodate large groups, outside a school for instance; or it could adapt to highlight a pedestrian taking emergency or risky action, like a child running into the road. It could also use colors to grab the attention of pedestrians glued to their phones, and light up pedestrians to make them easier to see when high-sided vehicles are around.

The technology was developed using research from the Transport Research Laboratory and in partnership with urban design company Umbrellium. While just a prototype at this stage, Direct Line is hoping that, as with "Fleetlights," which was adopted by a local lifeboat service in Norfolk, England, its open source technology might be picked up and used in real life, for example by a council. In the meantime, it's being used as the centerpiece for a digitally-led campaign, starting with a teaser film, seen here. A longer-form storytelling spot and a campaign film for cinemas will debut later this month.

Sam Wise, head of planning at Saatchi & Saatchi London, says in a statement: "It is easy for people to put insurance into a box marked "problems with my car or house" and only think about it once a year. Great insurance is actually something much bigger than that; it is the partner that allows us to meet the uncertainties of the future with confidence. With these activations, we are reminding people what great insurance should feel like and challenging them to reimagine what role we could play in a changing world."