Smart Cities News September/October 2021

Smart city tech critical to post-pandemic recovery

Digital innovation has accelerated significantly despite many industries ground to a halt as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with its ensuing lockdown restrictions and social distancing requirements. The development of smart cities, in particular, has gained momentum during the past 12 months, with recent research showing the size of the industry is set to double from $410.8 billion in 2020 to $820.7 billion by 2025 as a result. Tech pundits say COVID-19 has emphasised the importance of technologies such as big data, 5G, location-based services, geo-tag- ging services, beacon technology, and VR/ AR. While many have championed the use of these technologies for many years due to the value smart cities can deliver to both local governments and their citizens, others are now recognising the technologies’ potential to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis and initiate a return to something resembling normal.

Cyber-attacks pose threats to smart city technologies

US researchers have asked 76 cybersecurity experts to rank nine different technologies based on a range of different criteria. Emergency alerts, street video surveillance, and smart traffic signals have emerged as among the riskiest smart city technologies in a report by University of California, Berkeley. A report, The Cybersecurity Risks of Smart City Technologies: What Do Experts Think?, Led by an interdisciplinary team of scholars from the university, the report recommends that local officials should consider whether cyber-risks outweigh the potential gains of technology adoption on a case-by-case basis.Other technologies in order of ranking (4th to 9th) were: water consumption track- ing; smart tolling; public transit open data; gunshot detection; smart waste or recycling bins; and satellite water leak detection.

Smart waste sensor market to grow 29.8% annually

Research from Berg Insight forecasts that rapid adoption of smart waste sensors will result in 29.8% annual growth through 2025. Cities around the world are rapidly-adopting smart waste sensors to help manage re- sources, optimise collections, and reduce cases of unsightly (and often smelly) over- flowing bins. The wireless sensors are increasingly being pre-integrated into waste bins but existing units can also be retrofit- ted. By 2025, the number of smart bins is expected to reach 2.4 million.

Eftpos to power Australian smart cities with blockchain

Australia’s leading point-of-sale technology provider Eftpos Australia has revealed ambitious plans to roll out blockchain-powered autonomous vehicles and smart cities in Australia built using Hedera’s Hashgraph. Eftpos became Hedera’s 17th governing council member and Australia’s first Hedera node operator. Hedera has been expanding its governing council recently, with Shinhan Bank joining earlier this month, French utility giant Electricite de France onboarding and Standard Bank Group be- coming the network’s first African node operator. Eftpos Australia first announced a proof-of-concept for an Australian stable- coin using Hedera’s Hashgraph in 2020. While the pilot focused on micropayments, such as real-time payments for streaming and pay-per-click content, the company said the trial laid the groundwork for more ambitious initiatives, including the stated introduction of autonomous vehicles.

 

AUGUST NEWS

AI sustains water use in Seoul 

Key data that affects the sewage treatment process will be collected to create big data sets that the AI system can analyse in real time and use to automatically manage the water quality.

Sony trials smart city sensors in Rome

Sony Europe has announced its IMX500 image sensors with AI processing functionality are at the core of three smart city trials that are to be run with Envision in the municipality of Rome, Italy, beginning in June. These are intended to cut the city’s transport-related pollution and accidents at pedestrian crossings. The trial’s primary objective is to evaluate and deliver a smart parking system using IMX500 to reduce pollution and gridlock from those cruising to find a parking space. For this, the trial seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of such a system, with drivers alerted via a smartphone app before being directed to the free parking space closest to the driver’s destination.In addition to this, the test also includes a study of smart city systems that will optimise capacity and increase the use of its public transport network by implementing smart bus shelters, counting those getting on and off each bus – identifying overloading to ensure better provisioning of buses and costs optimisation.

New mobility management platform for greener cities  

Swarco has launched MyCity urban mobility management software to tackle cities’ frequent challenges associated with the rapid urbanization and related impacts on the environment as well as the rapid changes in the types of urban mobility and the IT landscape needed to support it.The system helps traffic managers to prevent incidents before they happen, reduce the likelihood of accidents, create a green wave and prioritize specific types of vehicles such as buses or emergency vehicles, and make traffic flow smoother with less emissions. MyCity will allow making better use of existing infrastructure, avoiding the costly alternative of building more roads. MyCity, with the 1.0 version hosted in Swarco’s secure cloud, has been built to evolve as mobility evolves, allowing city managers to proactively respond to changes in urban mobility trends and the technology used to support them. A single sign-on system gives access to important data and reports via a user-friendly and intuitive dashboard, independent of location or device.

High-power autonomous street sweeper cuts emissions

Finnish street maintenance technology developer Trombia Technologies has launched the world’s first high-power electric, autonomous street sweeper, with potential to cut 3 million metric tons of CO2 annually. The company’s Trombia Free cleaning device use less than 15% of the power required by currently available heavy suction sweeping technologies. This unlocks the potential for mass-electrification and carbon-neutralization of one of the heaviest vehicle technologies currently in use in the cities globally. Trombia states that this the first time that a diesel-fueled heavy equipment vehicle has been electrified without compromising the power and performance capabilities. Trombia Free is also the world’s first street cleaning device that is built to be operated fully autonomous in all-weather conditions in the modern smart cities and industrial destinations.

Smart waste sensor market to grow 29.8% annually

Research from Berg Insight forecasts that rapid adoption of smart waste sensors will result in 29.8% annual growth through 2025. Cities around the world are rapidly-adopting smart waste sensors to help manage resources, optimise collections, and reduce cases of unsightly (and often smelly) overflowing bins. The wireless sensors are increasingly being pre-integrated into waste bins but existing units can also be retrofitted. By 2025, the number of smart bins is expected to reach 2.4 million.

Sony to smarten up Rome

Three smart city trials in Rome have been launched in 2021 to help the historic city fight modern problems. The trials will all use Sony’s IMX500 sensor which is the first to feature embedded AI processing—enabling powerful capabilities while addressing privacy concerns. Sony Europe is partnering with Envision on the trials which hope to cut the city’s transport-related pollution and accidents at pedestrian crossings. One of the trials will see an alert system installed at pedestrian crossings that will activate to alert drivers when pedestrians are crossing. Low-latency smart lighting will be used on the road to make pedestrians more visible. A smart parking system will be delivered to reduce pollution and gridlock from those struggling to find a parking space. Drivers will be alerted to a free parking space via a smartphone app and directed to it. Increasing the use of public transport by optimising and enhancing services will also help to deal with congestion and pollution that Rome – and indeed most major cities – have problems with that have local and even global implications.

TomTom tackles electric vehicle ‘range anxiety’

Enhancements to EV technology are taking on some of consumers’ biggest anxieties when it comes to electric vehicles. Starting with range predictions, TomTom claims it has demonstrated single-digital accuracy for a 180km trip by factoring in current and maximum battery level, driving speed, road type and gradient, as well as historic and real-time traffic data. The improved system optimises routes based on the range and recharging behaviour of the vehicle, the traffic situation on the road, and real-time charging point information. If it is calculated that multiple shorter stops might be faster, the recommendation will be made to the EV driver. The Navigation for Automotive features deep integration with compatible vehicles which allows it to further optimise EVs by enabling functions such as battery pre-conditioning. Using information about upcoming charging along the route, the vehicle is able to prepare its battery for optimal fast-charging performance to limit how long drivers spend at a charging point and improve battery life.

Joint venture to create new AI for smart cities

Gammon Construction is partnering with Guildhawk, a tech-led language services consultancy, to bring built environment into the future and help enhance safety through digitisation. To create the smart cities of tomorrow, the industry needs to leverage innovative built environment technologies to make cities work more intelligently, more efficiently, and to the benefit of their populations and environments. With Guildhawk’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, it facilitates multilingual information for built asset and links this data to the newly created digital twins – digitised versions of manuals or PDF drawings. This enables optimisation of all interactions with these buildings, whether in terms of access to and sharing of data, avoidance of costly (and dangerous) errors, or insights into more efficient maintenance. It also aims to help enhance safety through the multilingual digitisation and conversion to video of health & safety, compliance, and training materials.