Next Generation Vehicle Detection Technology

Vehicle detection is becoming a more critical element to monitor and optimise traffic flows for intelligent transport systems. Access to cost effective and accurate detectors delivering real-time data is vital. 2021 will see Smart Cities implement programs by investing in new transport modes to improve mobility and upgrade existing assets to reduce congestion.

Traditionally, intersections and arterial roads are monitored using inductive loop vehicle detectors, which are installed beneath the pavement or roadway surface. Installation or replacement involves traffic stoppage to complete the work. In heavy traffic areas, loops are frequently damaged and are expensive to replace. Enter an opportunity for advanced above ground detection technologies.

Smart Cities needing to reduce C02 emissions can choose a single traffic radar sensor with object tracking microwave technology to measure vehicle velocity, position, lane, direction and angle. Using a smart traffic radar enables road authorities to install a safe, versatile and reliable technology on existing roadside or overhead gantry infrastructure. This reduces the impact to road users and provides usable real-time traffic data for intersections in addition to driving adaptive traffic signal controllers. smartmicro traffic radars are highly configurable, using a forward firing detection technology which provides highly accurate performance across a significant range of up to 10 lanes and distances of more than 300m. The small enclosure is IP67, low power at <10W and can operate in a temperature range from -40oC to 85oC.

Recently an Australian department of transport chose the smartmicro UMRR-0C Type 42 premium radar solution that was installed on the side of the motorway. Due to the location of installation, no road or lane closures were required, allowing through traffic to continue as normal. The smart radar was installed using a tilt-over pole angled to cover traffic flowing in both directions. As the smartmicro radar is located on the side of the road, this allows easy access if required. However, once the radar has been installed it requires no regular maintenance at all. As only one detector was required for all 6 lanes of traffic in both directions, the smartmicro radar proved to be an economical choice. It cuts down on the number of detectors needed, enables lower product lifecycle cost (eg civil work, loop maintenance or replacement) and consequently reduces traffic control costs. Most critically, other benefits include reduced inconvenience for road users and lessens the economic impact of lost productivity through roadworks or faulty sensor linked congestion and downtime.

The smartmicro premium radars can do more than just count vehicles. The radar has the capabilities to measure specific vehicle data, such as, vehicle class, length, speed, direction, gap and headway. It is also able to trigger on events such as a vehicle headed in the wrong direction, queue length build-up, ETA to a measure point and incident detection such as a fall in speed. The radar can individually track up to 256 objects in its field of view. Edge processing can be performed onsite using an industrial PC, which has the advantage of being able to buffer and store data if communication is lost to the data centre. During the night-time hours and adverse weather events, the radar can continually and accurately make real-time detections.

smartmicro is an integrated smart solution for traffic management at intersections and on motorways. 2020 has seen the release of the next generation premium radar called UMRR-12 TRUGRD. The new sensor has added a 4 detection dimension being elevation. TRUGRD processes data 10 times faster, improves detection accuracy of distant objects, extends to 12 lanes, whilst consuming less energy. The TRUGRD Stream version includes a camera lens integrating a video overlay with radar.

smartmicro is a specialist manufacturer in radar technology for traffic and automotive applications. The company was founded in Germany in 1997, and has produced over 75,000 traffic radars for the transport sector and continues to invest heavily in R&D.

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