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AI provides insight at the edge on the roads

Echelon’s patent-pending technology uses artificial intelligence to enhance safety and reduce outdoor lighting costs

The ‘vision-enabled’ traffic-adaptive LED street lights in action
The ‘vision-enabled’ traffic-adaptive LED street lights in action

Echelon Corporation has unveiled a patent-pending cognitive vision-based technology that can enable a wide range of smart city and smart campus applications.


Echelon InSight utilises artificial intelligence in vision-enabled edge devices, optimised for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications. With InSight, traffic data is collected and processed at the edge of the network instead of on a central server. It uses the Lumewave by Echelon lighting platform to transmit traffic information, reducing response time and improving reliability.


This architecture enables faster action in response to changing conditions and minimises 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 analyse traffic flows and automatically adjust light levels to enhance safety while reducing energy consumption and maintenance costs.


With InSight, each unit analyses 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.


Echelon claims that LED street light conversions typically reduce electricity consumption by 50 per cent while maintaining the same or better light levels. Adding Echelon’s connected lighting control system can reduce consumption by an additional 30 to 40 per cent by allowing intelligent traffic-adaptive lighting driven by Echelon InSight.


"Echelon’s new solution will deliver more efficient lighting sequences at a lower cost, so we’re excited to be testing it,” said Adam Miles, associate traffic engineer, city of Spokane.


He added: “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. The technology will allow us to reduce energy costs through existing traffic detectors while we analyse data from the new InSight cameras and compare their ability to replace traditional traffic detection tools."


Sohrab Modi, chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering, Echelon commented: "An intelligent street lighting platform can serve as the backbone of a smart city. Municipalities and campuses need to leverage existing infrastructure when implementing IoT systems to minimise costs and maximize ROI.


“Spokane is a test bed for emerging technology and its leaders recognise the environmental and safety advancements that this type of intelligent infrastructure can bring to its constituents. Once the technology is in place, city managers can add IoT applications to further improve public safety and enhance quality of life as new challenges arise."


Echelon claims that by using its traffic-adaptive street lighting application, a city could avoid the need to deploy a separate, costly broadband network that would be required by a conventional closed-circuit TV monitor system that would send video streams to a central system for analysis."


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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