Street lighting becomes smart – and connected

October 06, 2015 //By Smart2.0
Street lighting becomes smart – and connected
Is there a common denominator between street lighting and the connected car? Automotive supplier Continental answered the question at the ITS congress in Bordeaux (France). With a demonstrator, the company sketched a scenario where connected cars and street lighting both are becoming part of the same smart infrastructure.

ITS stands for Intelligent Transport Systems and therefore it is not a surprise that Continental is one of the exhibitors there. A little bit of a surprise was the topic the automotive supplier adopted: Street lighting. But given the assumption that in the future more or less all street lighting will be based on LEDs, and LEDs easily interface to electronic controls, the matter already looks a little bit more plausible. Equipped with sensors, street lighting systems can become a lot smarter.

For instance, the diagnosis function in the lamps that notifies the management system if one or more LEDs fail. Which means that there is already a communications channel in place that could just as good pass on sensor data. “For instance, we can detect with sensors if parking lots around a street lamp are occupied or free”, says Alfred Waghaeusl, project manager at Continental. “This information can be provided to car drivers looking for a parking space, either directly or through a cloud-based service. This would improve the parking space management – and at the same time it helps reducing CO 2 emission and increasing the income of the municipalities.”

The technology also can detect moving objects. Thus, the brightness could be adjusted, depending on whether a pedestrian, a cyclist or a car is approaching. “We even could detect accidents and not not only provide quick help, but also warn following vehicles,” Waghaeusl says. Intelligent street lighting could even provide a contribution to automated driving. Other possibilities are sensing environmental factors such temperature, rain and snowfall or the formation of ice. Plus, street lamps could be equipped with charging stations for electric cars as an additional benefit.

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