Innovative premiere: traffic counting using drone video

March 2, 2018, Eindhoven

ViNotion is a specialist in the field of automated video analysis. Using Machine and Deep Learning, ViNotion realizes her ‘TrafficDynamics’ solutions that detect and classify traffic fully automatically and in real-time. These measurements provide insights into the dynamics of the traffic flows. The extracted data includes countings, speed, movement trajectories, GPS positions, density, congestion and more. These measurements make it possible to give guidance and to adapt infrastructure for optimal traffic flow.

In collaboration with Antea Group, ViNotion has completed a project commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) to count the traffic from a drone. During this test we investigated the extent to which automatic counting in camera footage from a drone is possible and if the use of a drone is safe. Traffic counting with a drone offers many advantages, such as the quick measure of traffic flow at locations where no existing installed cameras, and to obtain a much higher camera perspective. ViNotion has investigated whether the automated analysis with a drone offers a high-quality alternative the traffic counting with traditional loops or observers.

For this particular drone project of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, measurements have been conducted at the A1 highway connection near Muiden, The Netherlands. For the flight, a tethered drone was used. This is a drone that is connected with a wire to the ground. The deployment of a tethered drone is more secure than a conventional drone because the power is supplied through the wire, which extends the flight time. ViNotion has performed the image analysis and detection of vehicles by training the ViSense TrafficDynamics system to detect vehicles in the camera perspective from a drone using Deep Learning.

The result was an impressive 97% accuracy, similar to manual counting by a human counter on the ground. The system is able to simultaneously analyze all directions on a complex traffic junction, while human counters can analyze only a limited number of directions. The use of the drone proved to be very safe because it could not fly away without losing the supplied power. Another advantage of this system is that measurements can be performed for a long time. The freedom of positioning of the drone and the short deployment time enable accurate traffic measurements on every traffic crossing in short time.

Traffic counting with a drone are thus not only possible, but offers a safe and accurate solution. From now on, ViNotion offers traffic counting for commercial use in collaboration with Antea Group. Are you interested in a measurement? Contact us via e-mail: or phone: +31(0)40 23 66 761.

ViNotion would like to thank the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) for a pleasant and successful cooperation within this project.