- This is the first edition of this category of international prizes, which recognise the best research works on road safety presented in the five countries where the Network of Abertis Academic Chairs operates.
- The sixth Abertis International Prize for Transport Infrastructure Management Research and the second Abertis Academic Chair - University of São Paulo National Prize were also presented.
The International Network of Abertis Academic Chairs has awarded the first International Road Safety Prize today in São Paulo, Brazil. This singles out the best work selected from among the winners of the national editions of the prize in Brazil, Chile, Spain, France and Puerto Rico.
The winner of the accolade was Dr. Hédi Hamdane of Aix-Marseille University, France. In his thesis titled "Improvement of pedestrian safety", the author developed several road safety systems that enable vehicles to detect pedestrians, thus preventing potential impacts. These systems analyse the trajectory of the vehicle by processing images with sensors. If a pedestrian is detected mid-trajectory the emergency brake is activated.
In the general category of the International Prizes for Transport Infrastructure Management Research, which were being presented for the sixth time, the ex aequo winners were Dr. Gabriel Michau, of Lyon University, France, for his doctoral thesis titled "Link Dependent O-D Matrix Estimation” and Dr. Pierre-Antoine Laharotte, of the Lyon University, for his work titled "Prediction of traffic states with machine learning". In the Master's category first prize went to Markus Niehaus of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile for a work titled "Accessibility and equity in social appraisal ".
The prizes were presented at the University of São Paulo at a ceremony attended by the consul general of Spain in São Paulo, Ángel Vázquez; the Chief Executive Officer of Arteris –Abertis’ subsidiary in Brazil-, David Díaz; the Director of Institutional Relations and CSR of Abertis, Sergi Loughney; and the Director of the Abertis-USP (University of São Paulo) Academic Chair, Dr. Leidi Légi Bariani.
Sergi Loughney, Director of the Abertis Foundation and of Institutional Relations and CSR at Abertis, expressed his satisfaction with the success of the first edition of the International Road Safety Prizes: "These prizes are a clear illustration of Abertis's commitment to university research and road safety. We are certain that these new prizes will raise the profile of research in the academic world and increase awareness of the importance of safe driving among young people."
David Díaz, CEO of Arteris, said: “the most important investment for the future of a country are education and innovation. The Abertis Chair initiatives contribute to this objective. As private sector, we work with universities to encourage the advance of research and knowledge for the benefit of society".
Abertis and the Road Safety
Road safety is a priority for Abertis. The Group can draw on more than 50 years of knowledge and experience in this field, and focuses on keeping its roads in optimum condition. It has a team of seasoned professionals who strive to ensure that Abertis customers enjoy a safe journey, carrying out patrols and traffic controls and providing comprehensive information. Between 2013 and 2016, the number of accidents on Abertis' network fell by 12% and the number of victims declined by 24%.
In addition, the Abertis Group works in tandem with myriad public and private institutions to design, develop and finance road safety education and awareness programmes which reflect the needs of every region and are focused on the most vulnerable road users (young people, senior citizens and disabled people).
This year, Abertis and UNICEF forged an ambitious global partnership agreement to tackle the main cause of death in children of school age: road accidents. This partnership will strengthen and scale-up UNICEF’s existing work to protect children on the world’s roads and provide a safe journey to school. The programme will first benefit the Philippines and Jamaica, countries which experience a severe health burden from child road traffic injury. The commitment comprises $1 million per year over three years, and is the largest of its kind focused on national road safety programmes for children between a company and UNICEF.
International Network of Abertis Academic Chairs
Abertis and the Abertis Foundation have been working since 2003 to set up various academic chairs in partnership with prestigious Spanish and international universities and academic institutions. Aware of the importance of the academic world for social and economic progress, Abertis fosters training, research and the transfer of knowledge between University and Company.
The first Chair was set up in Spain in partnership with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia - BarcelonaTech (Barcelona, Spain), under the direction of Francesc Robusté; and was followed by Chairs in France (IFSTTAR, École des Ponts), headed by Simon Cohen; Puerto Rico (University of Puerto Rico), under Benjamín Colucci; Chile (the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile), headed by Juan de Dios Ortúzar; and, more recently, Brazil (University of São Paulo), under Leidi Bernucci.