Vortex IoT, a disruptive UK-based IoT solutions company has developed a new Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) remote condition monitoring system to help improve asset and infrastructure management in urban environments by harnessing the unique capabilities of 3D lidar sensing, 5G wireless technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

The V2I solutions will transform cities with the connectivity and intelligence they need to bring about digital transformation to urban remote condition monitoring and asset management. As a recent study by Juniper Research has forecast, by utilizing V2X-enhanced smart traffic management systems, cities will save $277 billion by 2025 by reducing emission and congestion globally.

CURBS, the product name, stands for Continuous Urban Scanner (CURBS) and has the potential to be a game changing technology in the management of the urban environment. The technology can be used to monitor the condition of a number of assets, for example: -

Real Time Monitoring

• Road Markings - degradation in visibility

• Potholes - detection, growth rate, position

Road signs - knocked over, missing, leaning

• Bus stops - Damage

• Lamp posts – damaged, leaning

• Traffic lights - damaged, leaning

• Rubbish bins - Overflowing, missing, leaning

• Rubbish on pavement - Presence

• Foliage - Passing set point above or out into roadway, fallen branches etc.

• Road surface or pavement degradation - Cracking, damaged running course, missing cobbles

• Kerbs - Significant damage, upstand height

• Pedestrian - Behaviour monitoring, spillage outside of licenced zones

• Bus stopping - Identification of potential reasons for stopping of buses

Mapping

• 3D building information model

• Kerbs and foliage mapping

• Support for autonomous vehicle rollout

• Vacant parking spaces

• Roadway obstructions

Safety

• Detection of near-miss events for cyclists, pedestrians, vehicles etc.

• Road safety assessment at crossings, roundabouts etc.

The award-winning CURBS system, uses lidar data from Cepton, along with advanced AI software and machine learning to enable real-time, accurate, remote condition monitoring of an urban environment. Deployment involves the retrofit of CURBS product to vehicles, and creating a real-time 3D mapping and dynamic monitoring system. The product can be mounted on public transportation, such as bus fleets, refuse collection trucks and mobile enforcement vehicles to name but a few. CURBS provides detailed 3D point cloud visualizations of each vehicle’s surroundings as it travels.

CURBS will stream the vast amount of processed information over 5G networks, curating detailed, accurate 3D maps that are constantly being updated in real time. Crucially, these maps not only help to provide real-time insights to services such as road maintenance and traffic management, but also demonstrate how asset managers can leverage the vehicles that are constantly using our city and urban areas to generate intelligent sensor data. This not only enabled a new paradigm of remote condition monitoring and asset management but also contributes to net zero carbon targets. This presents a step change opportunity to infrastructure and asset managers/owners who currently rely on the use of costly labour, carbon and manual interventions. These interventions frequently have inaccurate data from a whole cottage industry of unstructured and inconsistent reporting formats (e.g., paper based, spreadsheets, word of mouth and visual inspections).

The CURBS product is currently in pilot phase and forms an integral part of the West Midlands 5G testbed programme. Vortex IoT are benefitting from collaborating with National Express (fleet of 38,000 buses) and the UK’s leading traffic management solutions provider - Marston Holdings. Through Marston Holdings a significant amount of market interest has been created which bodes well for the roll-out of the CURBS solution across 2021/22 and beyond.

“With vehicles becoming increasingly smarter, city infrastructure also demands next-generation innovations to deliver matching intelligence. Smart city solutions like CURBS are set to become commonplace across our towns and cities”, said Adrian Sutton, co-founder and CEO at Vortex IoT.

“Public authorities should and need to adopt carbon and resource efficient ways to manage urban environments, and this becomes even more important as the focus on issues such as decarbonization, financial sustainability and climate change grows.”

“At the heart of this is digital transformation and the potential that connected technologies and data analytics present for asset management in real time. Enhanced use of big data will drive rapid urban planning and dynamic decision making. Here, perception is key, and nothing can produce accurate 3D data in real-life urban environments quite like lidar - especially the state-of-the-art lidar solutions developed by Cepton, that combine high resolution and long range with reliability and embeddability, making their sensors ideally suited for these types of applications.”

Behzad Heravi, CTO and Cofounder of Vortex IoT had this to say, “CURBS uses the same sensing technology developed for autonomous vehicles through a partnership with Silicon Valley-based Cepton. The convergence of lidar, AI and 5G offers asset managers new digital capability which when leveraged will be transformative.”

“Thanks to the lidar’s superior, anonymized perception capabilities, CURBS not only maintains accuracy and resilience in a variety of weather and lighting conditions but also captures no biometric data and therefore protects the privacy of citizens without the need for additional data management and security protocols. When combined with the streaming capabilities of 5G and power of artificial intelligence, lidar technology really enables transformative change.”

Mark Hoskin, Group Business Development Director at Marston Holdings, added: “Marston Holdings has made significant investments in technology-driven solutions that deliver the most efficient client-focused services. We have introduced many industry award-winning AI-based mobile solutions and the CURBS product, developed by Vortex IoT, has huge potential.”