Tag Archives: smart city

How army of drones and robots could make Leeds the world’s first self-repairing city

Leeds could become the first ‘self-repairing city’ in the world by 2035 as robotics engineers work on developing drones that can prevent potholes.

Chris Burn reports. Leeds, 2035. Moments after scanning a city road and identifying a crack in the surface around the size of a 50p piece on a night-time patrol, a drone navigates itself down to the site of the problem, lands and fills in the defect using a 3D asphalt printer. What could have eventually developed into a serious pothole is fixed instantly and the drone flies off to search for its next assignment.

Professor Rob Richardson, from The School of Mechanical Engineering, at University of Leeds, along with his team are pioneering the use of robotic drone technology to repair potholes in the future as part of a Government-funded project called ‘Self Repairing Cities’.

It is a scenario that, despite the increasing prominence of drones in daily life, still sounds like science-fiction. But for the past three years, a team of robotics engineers at the University of Leeds’s School of Mechanical Engineering have been making considerable progress on turning the concept into a reality as they work on a multi-million pound, Government-supported project to turn potholes into a thing of the past.

Like almost every city and town in the country, Leeds has a considerable pothole problem – with over 10,000 reported to the council by members of the public between 2014 and 2017. But the city could soon be leading the way globally in dealing with the problem, as well as deploying drones to repair street lights and sending hybrid robots to live in utility pipes which they continually inspect, monitor and repair when necessary. It is all part of a wider scientific ambition called ‘Self-Repairing Cities’ that has the ambitious aim of ensuring there is no disruption from streetworks in UK cities by 2050.

The vision for the project states: “With the aid of Leeds City Council, we want to make Leeds the first city in the world that is fully maintained autonomously by 2035.” Professor Rob Richardson, operational director for the robotics element of the project, says despite the major changes potentially on the horizon, it should not mean drones constantly buzzing over everyone’s heads. “We see them as being like urban foxes,” he explains. “There are not going to be drones over your head constantly. You might see them in particular times of day in particular places but you won’t see them all the time. It wouldn’t be invasive.” The drones could be in operation in Leeds by 2035.

The five-year project, officially called ‘Balancing the Impact of City Infrastructure Engineering on Natural Systems Using Robots’, started back in January 2016 after £4.2m of funding was secured from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. It was one of seven ‘Engineering Grand Challenges’ awarded money by the agency to provide innovative solutions to issues such as tackling air pollution.

The Leeds scheme is also being supported by researchers from the universities Birmingham, Southampton and University College London, with project partners including Leeds Council, Balfour Beatty, the National Grid and Yorkshire Water. One of the main achievements of the projects to date has been combined work by the UCL and Leeds teams on developing 3D asphalt printing technology – which Richardson describes as a “world-first” – that can be used by the drones.

Work is now taking place on developing a scanning and decision-making system for such drones. Richardson says there are other possibilities for identifying small cracks in the road surface, such as through self-driving cars, buses and bin lorries that would have scanners attached to them as they went about their normal operations in ‘smart cities’ that use electronically-collected data to manage resources such as traffic lights effectively. The system would also allow for temporary road closures if necessary when drones are working on repairs. The investment of public money is dwarfed by the amounts currently spent on dealing with potholes alone.

In last October’s Budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond assigned an extra £420m to local councils for tackling potholes on top of an existing fund of £300m, while the annual cost of resurfacing roads in the UK is estimated to be more than £1bn. Richardson says the potential benefits go beyond immediate financial implications. “Right now, if you have got a bad pothole, you need people, big vehicles and disruption through closing the road and causing pollution to get rid of it,” he explains. “We want to change that and repair things before they become potholes.” Richardson adds the current costs for repairing potholes are difficult to estimate. “You can look at the cost of a person and the hours they work to do it. But the real cost is if there are not prompt repairs, roads gets further damaged.

If you have to close roads for long periods of time, congestion and pollution builds up. There are wider costs far more than a worker’s hourly rate. Our vision is by 2035 to have this kind of technology in a city, with potentially Leeds being the first one. Our grand vision is by 2050 that the whole of the UK will have self-repairing cities. At the end of the five years we want to show what can be done.” How Leeds could become world’s first city to use drones to prevent potholes While such changes may make life better for drivers and council budgets, there would obviously be an impact on employment as technology may make many jobs redundant.

The hope is for a “win-win situation” where better jobs are created, taxpayers’ money is used more efficiently and our air, water and wildlife are protected – but a mid-term report examining the progress of the project to date has suggested it may not be quite so simple. “In the past, every industrial revolution has seen existing jobs become obsolete, labour being replaced with machines, and yet new tasks have emerged that acted as a counterbalance to the displacement of workers,” it says. “Similar to the past, the robotics and AI revolution is set to displace a large proportion of the current workforce. But the concern this time is that if robots/AI can learn most of the new tasks, the creation of new jobs may not be a sufficient counterbalance for the loss of obsolete ones.

With uncertainty writ large over this revolution, it will be the responsibility of the state to safeguard the interest of all members of society and make sure that those who stand to lose the most from impending disruptions do not fall through the cracks.” The major disruption at Gatwick airport around Christmas in which drone sightings grounded about 1,000 flights raised public concerns about the use of the technology.

Leeds and Southampton universities have already been working with the cities of Bradford and Southampton to identify potential challenges and risks and find a safe way of overcoming them. Drones have been used to provide real-time information to firefighters in Bradford to give early warning of structural problems and identify hotspots and people in need of help at incidents.

Richardson says: “Smart cities currently check data and understand people flow. That doesn’t do proactive systems. But we are talking about cities that are able to understand what is happening and be able to react and do things. “All of this stuff is overseen by people, they are systems based on a framework set and regulated by humans. As with all technology, regulations are there for a reason. If it is done correctly, it brings good.” Project achievements growing Achievements of the project so far include creating technology to 3D print asphalt which is tougher than ordinary asphalt and demonstrating that a printer can be attached to a drone, flown to a damage location and operated. Other developments include an inspection robot that can operate autonomously in a one-inch pipe,

with wireless power transfer for charging and the simulation of how cheap ‘disposable’ robots can efficiently locate potholes or other defects in roads. A spokesman said: “The findings will be used to develop the next generation of robots for infrastructure inspection and repair, but with applications in any field that might benefit from the introduction of robotics and autonomous systems.”

Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

 

Smart City Connected Roadway Solutions

Iteris and Cisco Partner to Deliver Smart City Connected Roadway Solutions

Launching in Las Vegas, Initiative Seeks to Make Nation’s Roadways Safer and More Efficient

  • Strategic partnership will see integration of Iteris’ video detection platform with Cisco Kinetic’s advanced networking capabilities
  • Collaborative programs will focus on pedestrian safety and connected vehicle applications

SANTA ANA, Calif. – January 14, 2019 – Iteris, Inc. (NASDAQ: ITI), the global leader in applied informatics for transportation and agriculture, today announced a strategic partnership with Cisco that will promote Cisco’s Connected Roadway solution through several initiatives between the two companies.

Iteris and Cisco have deployed an edge-processing internet-of-things (IoT) solution with the City of Las Vegas that will combine data feeds from the Iteris Vantage Next video detection platform with the Cisco Kinetic software solution to analyze multimodal data from vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians for a number of high-value use cases to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion.

Pedestrian safety and connected vehicle applications in particular will be highlighted throughout the collaborative program, which will include a demonstration at the Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator during this week’s The Innovator’s Forum in Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas is renowned for its heavy pedestrian traffic, so we are constantly working to deploy innovative, multimodal technologies to better manage the flow of vehicles and people,” said Michael Sherwood, director of information technologies at the City of Las Vegas. “Iteris’ integration with Cisco’s Connected Roadway solution will produce insights that highlight the advantages video detection and advanced networking can have on a city’s transportation system.”

“We are excited to showcase how seamlessly Iteris’ advanced video detection integrates with Cisco’s industry-leading networking capabilities to ultimately enhance safety and mobility across the nation’s transportation networks,” said Todd Kreter, senior vice president and general manager, Roadway Sensors at Iteris. “Iteris has been a key proponent of connected vehicle integration for many years and this partnership with Cisco is further testament to our dedication to advancing multimodal safety technology throughout our business.”

Additionally, through a broader partnership agreement, Iteris and Cisco will address smart city initiatives through joint sales and co-marketing activities to key accounts across the United States. This will include highlighting the integration of Cisco communication systems into current and future projects, ensuring its mutual customers have the most secure and reliable communication infrastructure for their end-to-end transportation systems. In addition, by integrating Cisco hardware and software at the edge, the Iteris intersection-as-a-service™ offering will be able to support advanced capabilities for edge processing, as well as larger data sets and connected vehicles applications.

Future integration of Iteris video and radar detection sensors with the Cisco Kinetic platform will be showcased at intelligent transportation systems conferences throughout the year, including the upcoming ITS America Annual Meeting in Washington, DC from June 4-7, 2019.

Source: Iteris

Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility

  • The Lausitzring is Europe’s largest independent testbed for connected driving
  • Deutsche Telekom is developing 5G technology for communication between vehicles
  • Ideal environment for car manufacturers to test intelligent mobility across various driving scenarios
Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility.

Deutsche Telekom and DEKRA test 5G for connected mobility.

In just a few years, cars, traffic signals and street lighting will exchange information via 5G. And these are just three examples for traffic in the future. The systems involved will have to be secure. For this reason, DEKRA and Deutsche Telekom are expanding the facilities at the Lausitzring test- and race-track to include a 5G testbed for smart mobility.

There is a wide variety of scenarios – connected cars and autonomous vehicles will communicate with each other in real time, and also with buildings, the road infrastructure and other road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. Navigation information will be precise to the centimeter. In addition to innovative assistance systems, drivers can also use infotainment and other services in the car. This is all based on new connectivity solutions for vehicles. Experts from many different areas work together at the Lausitzring.

It is a place to test intelligent mobility in real situations

This creates the perfect environment for automotive manufacturers and suppliers and communications equipment providers alike. It is a place for them to test intelligent mobility in real situations. The results help in developing technologies and services. Telekom Deutschland will provide the latest 4G and 5G infrastructure for the testbed. Other new technologies also come into play, such as Edge Computing (in which cloud-based computing power ensures real-time communication), Precise Positioning (Driver assistance systems require reliable accuracy in the centimeter range) and C-V2X, the telecommunications standard for communication between vehicles, network infrastructure and road infrastructure.

Wolfgang Linsenmaier, Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA Automobil GmbH: “The DEKRA Technology Center is Europe’s largest vendor-independent test center for the mobility of the future. The spotlight is on automated and connected driving. We are delighted to have Deutsche Telekom on board as a strategic partner. We are confident this will be beneficial to both sides – but above all for road safety as a whole.”

It is Europe’s largest independent test area

Hagen Rickmann, Director for Business Customers at Telekom Deutschland GmbH: “Mobility is playing an ever greater role in our society. By equipping the Lausitzring with our 5G infrastructure, we and our partner DEKRA are offering industry the perfect testing environment for developing new, future-oriented services. This applies to the requirements on the part of the automotive industry in moving toward autonomous driving, and also to intelligent traffic control as part of smart city projects. Together, we are paving the way toward safe and efficient mobility in the future.”

The DEKRA Technology Center at the Lausitzring already provides the whole range of approval tests for manufacturers. Covering an area of around 545 hectares, it is Europe’s largest independent test area for connected and automated driving. This is an area equivalent to more than 700 football pitches. The roads recreate downtown, country road and highway conditions. There are also special asphalt zones for testing autonomous parking systems.

The industry will be able to use this new facility in the future to test connected functions as well as the enabling systems. As a result, of the entire communication system can be tested, all the way to the car manufacturers’ servers.

About Deutsche Telekom: Company profile

About DEKRA:
DEKRA has been active in the field of safety for more than 90 years. Founded in 1925 in Berlin as Deutscher Kraftfahrzeug-Überwachungs-Verein e.V., it is today one of the world’s leading expert organizations. DEKRA SE is a subsidiary of DEKRA e.V. and manages the Group’s operating business. In 2017, DEKRA generated sales totalling more than 3.1 billion Euros. The company currently employs more than 44,000 people in more than 50 countries on all five continents. With qualified and independent expert services, they work for safety on the road, at work and at home. These services range from vehicle inspection and expert appraisals to claims services, industrial and building inspections, safety consultancy, testing and certification of products and systems, as well as training courses and temporary work. The vision for the company’s 100th birthday in 2025 is that DEKRA will be the global partner for a safe world.

Montgenèvre brings smart cities to the ski slopes through joint Smart Resort initiative with Orange Business Services

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  • Real-time information for tourists and residents via a mobile app and free Wi-Fi across the resort
  • Data analysis to boost the resort’s economic and tourism development

Orange Business Services has announced its first “Smart Resort” in Montgenèvre, in the Alps, as part of a concept that will be developed across of France.
Montgenèvre’s digital transformation is being coordinated through a “smart city” strategy, combining free Wi-Fi, a mobile app available from early December on iOS and Android, and big data analytics. The objectives are threefold: enhancing the mountain experience, making life easier for residents and visitors, and supporting the economic and tourism development of one of the oldest ski resorts in France.
An enriched experience for tourists and residents

The Montgenèvre mobile app brings together all the information that tourists need, wherever they need it. It allows them to access real-time information about ski lifts, piste openings in winter, or golf courses during the rest of the tourist season, for example. The free mobile app is available in English as well as French, Italian, and comes in both winter and summer versions. In addition, a total of 31 Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up throughout the resort to allow users to fully benefit from all the app’s features.
Skiers can check the snow reports and avalanche warnings and see the current conditions in real time from the webcams located at the side of the pistes. An interactive map available via the application lets you explore the whole of the skiing area in high resolution 3D images, with pistes mapped and detailed, showing route, slope, length, and difficulty.

 

Solutions for sustainable economic development

The smart resort solution allows Montgenèvre to provide visitors or residents with a truly connected city experience. Montgenèvre sends information or customized services to users when they need it, such as shuttle bus schedules and information on local cultural activities based on the user’s interests, designed to boost local economic activity.
With the Flux Vision solution from Orange Business Services, Montgenèvre also has a means of analyzing population flow statistics throughout the year or around a particular event. This process, which collects and uses anonymized data from Orange’s public mobile network, helps in decision making when important choices must be made to improve tourist services in the valley.
“For Montgenèvre, becoming a Smart Resort means offering better living conditions and leisure activities for all users of the resort, be they tourists or residents. It strengthens economic and social activity in our region and responds to the challenges of the city of the future, but in a sustainable way,” commented Guy Hermitte, Mayor of Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes region).
“Orange, through its Smart Cities entity, is proud to provide its expertise in the digital transformation of cities and regions to the Montgenèvre resort, by offering innovative solutions for connectivity, mobile applications and data analysis for the benefit of visitors and residents,” commented Delphine Woussen, Director of Orange Smart Cities within Orange Business Services.
The application is scalable and will continuously be updated to meet user needs.

Source: TNS-Sofres, June 2017: “Les Français connectés en vacances” (“Staying connected on vacation”)

Source: Orange

Chinese machine-to-machine market is set for explosive growth

 shanghai

China leads the global machine-to-machine (M2M) market and will continue to see explosive growth over the next five years, according to the EY report: M2M in China: Opportunities to build on global leadership. M2M – which means direct communication between connected devices – is an essential component to enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). Several advantages unique to China will aid in extending its global leadership in M2M, most notably, its large smartphone base and ambitious government plans for IoT.

Steve Lo, Greater China Technology, Media & Telecommunications Market Segment Leader, Ernst & Young, says:

“Support from the Chinese Government and its mandate for China to become a nation of smart cities has been crucial to building the necessary critical mass for M2M to drive the country’s future mobile internet era. Together, Chinese operators and the Chinese Government have enabled the market to grow dramatically in a relatively short time, laying the foundation for further expansion and accelerated development of the IoT.”

Smart-city pilots accelerate growth across industries

Deployment of smart-city pilots has accelerated adoption of M2M solutions in several key industries. China’s telecoms operators, in particular, are set to capitalize on the IoT opportunity by leading the development of services related to IoT and engaging with the smart-city projects initiated by many Chinese city authorities to expand their M2M and IoT businesses.

Energy and transport also stand to benefit with new network technologies supporting future market growth. At the same time, logistics, securities and health care are increasingly using M2M technology to deliver services, such as fleet management, asset tracking, surveillance and smart health. Going forward, the wearables and connected-car markets also will see significant growth potential.

Collaboration and partnerships form path to growth

The report identifies third-party collaboration, alliances with competitors and cross-sector partnerships as critical success factors for telecoms operators to develop and deliver targeted M2M solutions effectively across industries.

While partnership provides a fast route to market, bold acquisition strategies can bring a mixture of customers, vertical expertise and development capabilities to operators and service providers. Utilities and transport are two priority sectors where, according to the report, operators may need to consider investment.

Holger Forst, Global Telecommunications Assurance Leader, Ernst & Young says: “To succeed in the long term, operators must also look at revamping their organizational model to increase agility. Engaging in partnerships and alliances is vital to delivering robust and innovative solutions. Pursuing acquisitions can also position service providers for a greater share of M2M industry revenues. Meanwhile, sharper focus on big data analytics also provides opportunities for further differentiation by delivering greater insights for customers.”

Source: EY

 

Smart City ICT revenues are set to reach $977 Billion by 2012

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Urban living may encompass 86% of the developed world, and 64% of the developing world by 2050.

The worldwide population shift to urban centers is spurring the adoption of “Smart Cities” to maximize the efficiency of crucial resources like utilities, water supply and transportation services. These cities of the future will combine and leverage Internet of Things (IoT) andInformation and Communications (ICT).

A new Strategy Analytics report “The Future of Smart Cities – Opportunities, Solutions and Players” forecasts that Urban ICT revenues will reach $977 Billion by 2022. Currently, about one million people are added each week to the world’s cities.

The study reveals that North America and Europe will dominate urban ICT revenue by 2022, with Asia-Pacific the fastest growing market. Smart Health, Smart Infrastructure and Smart Government represent the largest ICT opportunities.

City infrastructures grow more slowly than the population they seek to serve, but faster than the city’s land area, said Andrew Brown, Executive Director of Enterprise and IoT research at Strategy Analytics. “Parking sensors, for example, can together with traffic management platforms and big data warn of, and ward off, inner city traffic congestion before it becomes unmanageable,” Brown said, adding:

“Smart street lighting can be set to operate only when there are people nearby who need it. The smart lamp-post itself can become a sensor platform for other services such as surveillance or smart parking.”

Chart: Total Smart City ICT revenue by solution area - 2010-2022

Smart grids can play a vital part in controlling urban energy supply and demand. At the same time, utilities are seeking to reinvent themselves to be service providers for urban customers.

Smart water‘ offers effective end-to-end monitoring and control for an increasingly valuable resource. Water utility companies using smarter solutions could save between $7.1 Billion and $12.5 Billion each year, engaging multipleIoT vendors, the SA report found.

This foundational study examines the ‘smart city’ approaches of ICT and IoT vendors and service providers. It describes solutions and business models and provides recommendations for the future. The report also explores the role of urban-centric solutions such as Uber and AirBnB.