The origins of Xouba: the future of road safety is in the data

Xouba was founded in 2022 in Madrid with a mission: to achieve safer roads through data analysis.

In a world where millions of teras of data are created every minute, continuing with a road maintenance model that does not incorporate this information into its decision making is wasting a very valuable asset. Currently, connected cars have essential information on our roads state that they transmit in real time in an anonymized way: lights activation, use of ESP, tires wear, traction control and use of brakes, among others. These data are essential to prevent future accidents and improve the safety of the road network. And it is a fact that this information has not yet been incorporated into decision making on road maintenance.

Connected cars

This is the reason why Xouba was born. Because we firmly believe that, by analyzing these volumes of information, we will have a better diagnosis of the state of our roads; we will be able to predict future accidents and thus help road operators to be proactive in managing road safety. In other words, with the data from connected cars, we are one step closer to reaching the goal of Vision Zero and achieving safer roads for citizens from a predictive road safety model.

A new and more efficient road safety model

The maintenance of roads in Spain shows as a sector that, due to a convergence of factors, is highly complex.

These are some of the most prominent factors:

  • A big road network. The Spanish highway network is the first largest in Europe.
  • High traffic. Spanish roads assume 91% of the traffic of people.
  • Under investment in road maintenance. As pointed out in the report elaborated by the Association of Infrastructure Maintenance and Operation Companies (ACEX), Spain allocated 22,489 euros per kilometer in 2019, investing less than Italy, France, Germany or the United Kingdom.
  • Traffic accidents. In 2021, 1,004 people died in 2021 in 921 fatal accidents, which also left 3,728 seriously injured.
  • Reactive road maintenance model. The current strategy for road maintenance is based on a reactive approach: the action is taken only when the accidents have occured.

The confluence of these factors makes it necessary to optimize the resources allocated to the maintenance of roads. For years, we have observed this reality at Alvac in the road maintenance services that we have carried out in Spain. And for years we have constantly challenged ourselves in the search for excellence in this management, seeking for new solutions.

With the consolidation of the Internet of Things (IoT), many sectors have faced a huge disruption. There are millions of devices connected to each other, conversing and transmitting information to the cloud. Among these devices, one stands out for road maintenance: the automobile. The irruption of connectivity technology paves the way for us to achieve the desired goal of zero deaths in road accidents.

As, from 2018, the vehicle connectivity is obligatory and standardized for any new car in Spain, at Alvac we saw the opportunity to incorporate these large volumes of information and decided to found our spin-off, Xouba. The objective: to be able to design the road safety of the future, predictive road safety.

Our premise is clear. Cars are the equivalent of mobile phones on the roads. Just as a mobile phone constantly transmits geolocated data, cars do the same and, properly analyzed these data, we can achieve better road safety decisions. Any car manufacturer knows more about the state of the roads than the infraestructure operators. And this knowledge has to be transferred to road maintenance managers in order to design safer solutions for citizens.

To do this, we have developed a team that combines specialists in data analytics, the Xouba Data Team, with engineers specialized in road infrastructure and road maintenance. Data science plus in-depth road maintenance knowledge is the combination that will allow us to advise and offer the necessary solutions to navigate through this road safety disruption.

Xouba was born to challenge us, to ask ourselves new questions and combine our engineering expertise and the power of data with one goal: to make Vision Zero a reality.

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