Melbourne tests 5G garbage trucks | information age
Brimbank garbage trucks will be equipped with cameras and 5G. Photo: City of Brimbank
They might not seem like the most intuitive targets for smart city tech, but Melbourne’s Brimbank city garbage trucks are getting a high-tech upgrade as University researchers of Swinburne are testing a 5G-connected computer vision system that will monitor city streets to identify potential damage and maintenance issues.
A pair of stereo and depth-vision cameras, mounted on the bullbars of the trucks, use optical scanning technology to produce high-resolution “point clouds” as the trucks travel the more than 900 km of highways. the city.
The point clouds will provide detailed 3D images of objects in and around streets – with an initial focus on traffic signs, bus shelters and natural strips – and monitor changes from week to week. other.
Regularly scanning the same space will allow the system to detect damage that might otherwise not be repaired, such as damage to a bus shelter or a load of hard trash left on a nature strip, and automatically generate maintenance tickets for the attention of the board.
“Many of them are kept in manual logs and sometimes inspections only happen once every six months,” said Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman, director of the factory of the future and laboratory of the future. digital innovation from Swinburne. information age.
“Once we start collecting this data, we create a history of how things happened at any time, and a historical view of what happened there from yesterday to today. – like seeing cracks appear and widen.”
With Brimbank spending $15-20 million a year on maintaining roads and roadside assets, Mayor Jasmine Nguyen said in announcing the project, which “gives us a faster, more efficient way to identify assets in need of maintenance and relay the information to work teams…so they can respond more quickly.”
Each point cloud contains approximately 1 GB of data, which means the cameras produce data at a rate of up to 900 Mbps – transmitting it in real time through the Optus 5G network to an Amazon Web Service platform ( AWS) cloud-based storage and analytics.
The high bandwidth requirements of the system make it an ideal use case for 5G broadband, with Optus committed to supporting the project.
“Part of the project is to assess how well 5G can support such a smart city use case,” Jayaraman explained, “and given that it can go up to 900 Mbps, it will challenge 5G at its extreme.”
“But by installing a router on the trucks, we’ll know exactly where 5G works well, where it fails, and what needs to be done in those areas to improve 5G coverage or performance.”
5G is driving smart city use cases
The ability of 5G networks to support both high-speed and low-speed connections is helping them gain traction among smart city advocates, with extremely low latency making the networks suitable for fast-changing environments such as cars autonomous – and, yes, garbage trucks.
GlobalData recently predicted that 5G subscriptions will increase rapidly in APAC countries, with annual growth of 25.5% until 2026 thanks to “visionary ecosystems”.
5G services will account for 45.8% of all mobile subscriptions by 2026, up from 17.6% in 2021. GlobalData senior telecommunications analyst Deepa Dhingra attributes much of the growth to accelerating smart city initiatives in areas such as e-government and e-healthcare. , intelligent traffic management and smart grids.
“While the pandemic initially hampered the rollout of 5G networks,” Dhingra explained, “the need for reliable high-speed networks to support the backbone of the digital economy – and drive innovation across all sectors through to the use of new digital tools such as the Internet of Things [IoT]automation and data analytics – provided the motivation and incentive for 5G investments…and will build a strong case for 5G in the region.
While 5G will provide robust bandwidth for video and large data streams, depending on the application, it will also be complemented by investments in IoT-specific networks such as Telstra’s LPWAN network.
Steady growth in recent years has seen 1.2 million devices connected to Telstra’s LPWAN network, with an additional 50,000 devices connected each month and Telstra recently signature a $100 million deal with smart meter company Intellihub that will connect up to 4.1 million more devices over the next decade.