Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

Smart city hotspots: FLIR manages traffic using thermal imaging

Thermal imaging company FLIR Systems has launched a traffic sensor designed to connect vehicles to smart city infrastructures. The thermal system will provide a line of communication for the vehicle-to-everything (V2X) market.

FLIR’s thermal cameras are often used to detect heat signatures from the air. For example, the company has a partnership with Chinese drone giant DJI to provide thermal imaging in support of precision agriculture, solar panel inspection, and search and rescue operations, among other applications.

FLIR’s V2X-enabled traffic sensor is a step towards embedding that data into urban infrastructures in a way that improves the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

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FLIR’s V2X Technology

According to FLIR, its V2X imaging technology will be one voice in the digital conversation between cars, other road users, and smart-city traffic infrastructures of the future.

FLIR traffic management using thermal imagingThe aim is to make roads safer. FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X (pictured) could support a real-time collision avoidance system that accounts for the movements of all road users, said the company. It can be mounted onto existing traffic signals to read the heat signatures of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists at intersections.

The plan is for vehicles to transmit their speed and direction data over short distances. That information will be combined with FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X, which will communicate the presence of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles.

All of this data could help to warn drivers about dangerous situations before it is too late, or be incorporated into the actions of driverless systems.

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FLIR’s thermal traffic management solution

Aside from preventing crashes, FLIR’s ThermiCam V2X can gather enough information to prioritise traffic signalling at busy intersections, making way for emergency vehicles or improving the general traffic flow.

“As car manufacturers design V2X technology into future vehicles, FLIR is being deployed today to ensure cities are ready for their arrival,” said James Cannon, President and CEO of FLIR.

“By detecting pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles in real time, while also enabling communication between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, FLIR ThermiCam V2X will play a critical role in improving the movement and safety of the world’s roads.”

The price to pay for V2X communications

As of yet, FLIR has not provided any details on how its V2X technology will be secured. Clearly, any move to connect the previously unconnected opens the doors to cybersecurity risks.

ABI Research last year estimated that roadways will account for the majority of cybersecurity spending in the transport sector, with $5 billion expected to be invested by 2022.

At the time, research director at ABI, Michela Menting, pointed out that, “While the transportation sector places heavy reliance on functional safety and physical security, the cyber protection of connected operational technologies is currently inadequate and will require some significant work.”

“Transport stakeholders will have to implement digital security if they want to successfully realise the efficiencies and cost savings that connected OT promises to deliver.”

FLIR will demonstrate the ThermiCam V2X sensor at Intertraffic 2018 in Amsterdam.

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Internet of Business says

The death this week of 49 year-old Elaine Herzberg, who was struck by an autonomous Uber car in Tempe, Arizona, reveals that smart transport, driverless vehicles, and smart city programmes are ultimately all about people, not technology. That said, any innovative system that improves the safety of our roads for all users is welcome.

Read more: Gartner: Four strategies to make smart cities work for citizens