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The Race for Smart Cities

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LED Streetlights Can Be Programmed to Adapt to Traffic

April 26th 2017

Downtown LA Neighborhood

IoT systems provider Echelon Corporation has developed a patent-pending cognitive vision-based technology that can enable a wide range of smart city and smart campus applications, including traffic-adaptive lighting.

Using artificial intelligence in vision-enabled edge devices, Echelon's InSight technology collects traffic data and processed at the edge of the network instead of on a central server. It then uses the Echelon's Lumewave lighting platform to transmit traffic information, reducing response time and improving reliability.  This architecture is said to enable faster action in response to changing conditions and minimizes network bandwidth requirements.

The first application of Echelon's new technology will be to provide traffic-adaptive lighting in Spokane, Washington. The cognitive vision system will be deployed on traffic intersection streetlights where it will analyze traffic flows and automatically adjust light levels to enhance safety while reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.

With InSight, each unit analyzes video streams locally and makes decisions about what light levels to set based on traffic volumes and conditions, triggering higher levels during peak hours and lowering light levels during non-peak hours. The solution leverages Echelon's connected streetlight control system, along with the trend by cities and campuses to upgrade to LED lighting.

While LED streetlight conversions typically reduce electricity consumption by 50 percent (for equivalent light levels), Echelon estimates that intelligent traffic-adaptive lighting could reduce consumption by an additional 30 to 40 percent. Traditionally, cities have used a wide variety of traffic monitoring systems such as in-ground loops, cameras, radar, or infrared to detect traffic for timing traffic signals. These are typically closed loop systems and provide limited information for traffic signal timing only.

Lumewave's traffic adaptive lighting application takes traffic detection one step further by providing direct integration with area street lighting. Additionally, the InSight Cognitive Vision System captures and analyzes traffic patterns right at the camera and then provides traffic volume data to a local gateway or SmartServer to adaptively dim or brighten lights. Critical traffic data is also passed to a Central Management System via the Lumewave network.

"Echelon's new solution will deliver more efficient lighting sequences at a lower cost, so we're excited to be testing it. The Echelon team got up to speed very quickly on the way a signal cabinet works and expertly integrated their traffic adaptive lighting into our existing system," said Adam Miles, Associate Traffic Engineer, City of Spokane. "The technology will allow us to reduce energy costs through existing traffic detectors while we analyze data from the new InSight cameras and compare their ability to replace traditional traffic detection tools."

In the future, additional InSight applications will offer more traffic analytics, including vehicle classification and vehicle speed maps, signal timing functions, and solutions to other related problems, like parking.


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