Wireless sensor with a patented triple technology for traffic monitoring

Ref-Nr: TDI0023

The Sky Light Sensors

Technology abstract

The Sky Light Sensor is a low-consumption wireless sensor which can be placed in the surface of the roadway, in the centre of a lane (traffic) or of a parking bay (parking). The installation takes place in a about 15 minutes by using resins or quick cement. After the placement, the sensor is able to self-calibrate without any human intervention. The casing is a waterproof rigid volume which is able to protect the electronics from rainwater and from mechanical stresses caused by the vehicles.

This technology was identified through the significant cooperation between the Italian Broker and BICLazio. The donor was incubated by BICLazio. The innovation proposed in this technology description is mainly related to the capability of managing multi-sensor data including its control capability.

- Tanya Scalia -

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Technology Description

The Sky Light Sensor is a low-consumption wireless sensor based on a new patented detection technology. The donor provides two different versions: traffic version (optimized for traffic monitoring) and parking version (optimized for parking space monitoring). The Sky Light Sensor is placed in the surface of the roadway, in the centre of a lane (traffic) or of a parking bay (parking). The installation takes place in a short time (15/20 minutes) by using resins or quick cement and upon the removal of a street core of 130 mm of diameter and 80 mm of depth. After the placement, the sensor is able to self-calibrate without any intervention by the operator. The casing is of service to create a waterproof rigid volume which is able to protect the electronics from rainwater and from mechanical stresses caused by the passing vehicles. The features of these cases allow a simple extraction of the sensors, making possible a rapid maintenance work.
TRAFFIC VERSION: The sensor allows to have high performances even in congested traffic situations where other technologies have limitations. Moreover, the sensor can automatically send data to an Access Point which forwards them to a processing and storage station in order to implement a system for traffic management. The general outline of a surveyed road section with Sky Light Sensor considers the installation of at least one sensor for each lane, in order to count the passing vehicles. In case of speed and length monitoring (detailed for each transit), two sensors (master e slave) for each lane will be necessary. All the sensors installed in a street section send the collected data to the Access Point, located at the roadside in a waterproof box, via radio (2.4 GHZ). The Access Point also sends data to the remote operating station, which deals with centralized data management, through the GPRS network (wired network via Ethernet can be used as well). The vehicle detection relies on a patented technology. During the daytime, the working principle is based on the variation of the incident ambient light on the sensor which occurs during the transit of a vehicle. In the night time the device uses an artificial light produced by an infrared LED source integrated in the sensor, detecting the light reflected from the bottom of the vehicle. The magnetic sensor is activated in presence of dirt or snow on the surface of the optical sensor. The SLS (i.e. Sky Light Sensor) also puts in practice a selection of technical solutions that allow the user to remove false detections resulting from shadows or light reflections not related to the presence of a vehicle. The sensor provides the temperature of the road surface and it has a 8 years battery life.
PARKING VERSION: Sky Light Parking Sensor allows the detection of individual parking spaces occupancy within the public and private parking. It is located within the pavement surface, after a carrot removal. The sensor allows the relief of free and occupied spaces in a car parking by using a TRIPLE tecnology: 1) Analysis of the dynamics of the incident ambient light (patented tecnology); 2) Active IR; 3) Three axis magnetometer. The use of three different technologies allows the sensor to obtain a very high accuracy compared to conventional sensors equipped with a single magnetic technology. The low power consumption allows continuous operation for more than 10 years without any intervention. The data is sent wireless (868MHZ—ISM band) to a Repeater or directly to an Access Point located at the edge of the roadway and powered by a small photovoltaic system. The Access Point automatically sends data to a server via GPRS or Ethernet.

Innovations & Advantages

The main features of the innovative Sky Light Sensor are the following:
TRAFFIC VERSION
•Patented Optic Technology: accuracy >99%.
•Triple Technology: during the daytime the sensor allows the measurement of the vehicle by analyzing the dynamics of the incident ambient light on the roadway. In the night time the device uses an artificial light produced by an infrared LED source integrated in the sensor, detecting the light reflected from the bottom of the vehicle. The sensor is also equipped with a magnetic sensor for operation even in case of the presence of dirt or snow.
•Excellent alternative for loop replacement.
•Self-calibrating.
•Count of vehicles, occupation time and estimation of the speed of traffic flow.
•Measurement of the speed and the classification of each vehicle by installing two Sky Light Sensor (Master-Slave) for each lane.
•Measurement of the road surface temperature
•Quick and easy installation (wireless technology allows the installation of a sensor in about 15 minutes, using standard equipment and building materials).
•Completely independent power (8 years of battery life).
•Easy maintenance (the presence of an outer casing allows a simple and quick replacement of the sensor in less than 5 minutes).
•Excellent performance in presence of queuing vehicles or in congested traffic conditions (the principle of operation, the electronics and the detector algorithm permit a correct relief even in congested traffic flow).
•Data automatically sent via GPRS or ETHERNET to server on a pre-selectable time.
PARKING VERSION
•Detection of individual parking spaces occupancy;
•Triple Technology Sensor (incident ambient light, IR emitter, magnetic field); accuracy > 99%;
•Self calibrating;
•Quick installation: wireless technology simplifies the installation;
•Flexible integration with parking management applications
•Low power consumption
•Easy maintenance:quick recovery in case of failure by simply replacing the electronic board.

Further Information

The Sky Light Sensors are well rounded devices that can be used for different purposes in the mobility field:
• Sky Light Monitoring System:
It is a real time traffic flow monitoring, which can be implemented by using a single sensor (if the aim is to count vehicles) or a master-slave couple of sensors for speed measurement and classification by length. Data can be also processed to obtain travel times concerning a road section and they can be stored in a database.
• Sky Light Parking System:
It is a system for the monitoring of parking bays occupancy. Each parking space has to be equipped with a Sky Light Sensor (parking version). Thanks to this accurate device, parking managers and supervisors can check if a car is illegally standing in a reserved space or in a no-go areas and then take measures against infractions.
Moreover, some data such as occupancy times and number of incoming/outcoming vehicles can be collected and stored, so as to be used for a better parking management.
• Sky Light Intersection System:
It is a system for smart intersection management which permits to perform a better urban traffic control (UTC). It has been proved that adaptive UTC systems are able to reduce the average travel times in the city up to 20%. This management can be reliable only if a great number of sensors are spread on the urban territory. Presently, the detection devices are represented by inductive loops, but they have showed many problems such as intrusive and long-lasting installation works, high rate of failure, high costs and poor performance during traffic congestions. Due to these reasons, wireless sensors are an excellent alternative for loop replacement, in order to improve adaptive UTC systems.

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Currently used for traffic and parking application on earth. The technology at its basis could be applied in space as a low-consumption, low price wireless sensor that uses a rigid volume able to protect the electronics from mechanical stresses.