MEMS and Sensors

Video: Controlling traffic with lidar in smart cities

11 May 2021

To improve traffic networks and public spaces in smart cities, Velodyne Lidar Inc. has launched an intelligent infrastructure solution that combines its lidar sensors with artificial intelligence (AI) software.

The infrastructure solution generates real-time data analytics and predictions to help improve traffic and crowd flow efficiency, advanced sustainability and protect road users. The solution, which includes Bluecity’s AI powered traffic monitoring software, has been deployed in multiple North American cities including Quebec and British Columbia, Canada, with installations in New Jersey and more deployments expected to come soon in the U.S.

Additionally, Velodyne has formed a sales agreement with Rutgers University Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) to deploy the intelligent infrastructure solution with Velodyne’s Prime lidar sensors. CAIT will install the solution in multiple intersections in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as part of the Middlesex County-Smart Mobility Testing Ground (MC-SMTG) project. This project is designed to gather, analyze and share technologies to help with autonomous vehicles of the future, specifically relating to smart city traffic deployment.

“The acquisition and analysis of mobility data is crucial to integrating autonomous vehicles, and creating a safer pedestrian and cycling environment,” said Ali Maher, professor and director at Rutgers CAIT. “Velodyne’s Intelligent Infrastructure Solution captures data on various traffic activity including vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists in all types of environmental conditions. We envision the solution as playing a critical role in helping us create a safer environment for all road users.”

Infrastructure is a hot topic right now with the Biden Administration wanting to invest $2.25 trillion to invest in the modernization of vehicles, roads and transit systems. Local governments are looking to rebuild outdated transportation infrastructure systems to pave the way for the adoption of smart cities and smart infrastructure.

What it does

The solution creates real-time 3D maps of roads and intersections as well as collects data in any lighting or weather conditions for 365 days a year of operation. The lidar and AI product advances safety through detecting various road users such as vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists as well as predicting road challenges to help municipalities and customers make informed decisions.

A single lidar sensor can be installed on a traffic pole and can cover an entire intersection or highway section compared to radar- and camera-based systems that usually need multiple sensors to cover the same area.

The solution could also be used to determine foot traffic data to learn about citizen patterns, congregation areas, congestion points and more. Additionally, road user data around intersections to predict potential collisions, which can be used to warn connected vehicles via vehicle to everything (V2X) communications.

Furthermore, the infrastructure detects collisions and near-miss incidents in real time to provide data to emergency response services for faster dispatch in both urban and rural environments. It can also help to detect wildlife crossing and help prevent collisions that could result in personal, environmental and economic losses.

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