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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Echelon system uses AI to collect traffic data through street lighting

By Nick Flaherty

Echelon is known for its LON networking protocol, but the Internet of Things pioneer has also completed initial field tests of another new application using connected camera modules on streetlights to count traffic.

The InSight Cognitive Vision System communicates over the existing lighting network using the underlying LON protocol and so can be deployed on any streetlight, not just those in intersections adjacent to traffic control boxes. This allows more cameras to be used cost effectively.

Deployed in Spokane, Washington, the system includes an adaptive learning capability to accommodate differences in each camera’s deployment for light levels, shadows, and reflections. “While there are many open source computer vision algorithms available today, most address one particular problem under a narrow set of conditions and are not effective for reliably addressing multiple real world issues,” said Sohrab Modi, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Engineering at Echelon. “We developed this cognitive AI vision technology to enable a municipal streetlight system to host an increasingly broad array of smart city solutions.”

InSight accesses the Lumewave lighting control network, allowing placement of the self-learning system on any streetlight instead. Moving the traffic counter from the roadway surface to a streetlight simplifies deployment, and moves the sensor into a more versatile location. And by using the existing connected lighting platform, the traffic counting application offers smart cities a lower cost alternative in managing energy use as well as a platform to broadly collect traffic data.

“We are encouraged by these field test results that demonstrate that InSight provides reliable traffic flow information directly into the street lighting process,” said Adam Miles, Associate Traffic Engineer, City of Spokane. “Over time, we believe the aggregated traffic data we collect will enable us to address resident and commuter needs in new ways we are just beginning to consider."

"With the deployment of this new application, cities and campuses can begin to see how InSight will provide the foundation for a family of AI-based tools leveraging the omnipresence of street lights connected with Echelon technologies," said Ron Sege, Chairman and CEO of Echelon. "Street lights are everywhere - these tools will take them from being simple re-implementations of 19th century gaslights, to the basis for providing advanced 21st century capabilities enhancing safety and quality of life for individuals and businesses, at a lower cost than today's simple lights alone."

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