How Sensors Help Cities Handle Infrastructure Demands

June 20, 2017
By Bethany Dunich

With urban population swelling, industry and government are turning to Sensors to help deliver services and information.

The most recent U.S. Census Bureau data makes it clear: Millennials are migrating from the suburbs to the cities. A recent Forbes analysis found that major U.S. metro areas added 1.09 millennial residents for everyone who moved to the suburbs. What’s a millennial? Anyone born between 1982 and 2004.

NYC had the highest flux, adding 2.17 millennials for every one that moved out. Millennials are adding to the city’s growing population, and putting new pressure on the city’s aging infrastructure.

IoT, Sensors And Cities

sensors and the internet of things (IoT)

How does NYC simultaneously address population growth and crumbling infrastructure?   It’s a question swirling through city halls around the country.   Enter new technologies such as mobile and connected devices that leverage the Internet of Things. At the center of these connected devices are the Sensors constantly collecting data and serving it up across the network of technologies. Panasonic is positioned as a specialty Sensor maker and an authority in this IoT critical technology—an integrated solutions partner for companies and government entities that use technology to enhance the lives of the people they serve, by harnessing a broad set of disruptive technologies that inspire and amaze us.

Building Smart Infrastructure

Researchers have been working on smart infrastructure since at least the 1960s, and much of the technology needed to make smart roads and smart cars already exists—from infrastructure communication to multi-object detection using powerful Sensors—but is always improving.

wall mount sensors

These technologies can be used to improve civic life in a myriad of ways. Panasonic’s PIR Sensors can, for instance, detect pedestrians as they approach street lights and turn on each light as their presence is detected. This creates a safe, well-lit area for citizens to move through at night, but it also does so by limited electrical usage and unnecessary light pollution.

In Japan, some of Panasonic’s latest thinking is put to the test at its ADAS driving test course in Yokohama opened to prove out emerging ideas in machine vision, radar, “surround Sensors,” and other communication protocols.

Colorado’s Real World Example

It’s about more than minimizing traffic during the morning commute: According to research by the Colorado Department of Transportation, connected roads and vehicles could reduce crashes by up to 80 percent. Panasonic is partnering with the state to transform a stretch of Interstate 70 into a smart highway. The project focuses on a pass through the Colorado Rockies, one of the nation’s most geographically challenging corridors, and is planned to give drivers alerts of slick roads, traffic jams and other hazards through a Sensor-laden infrastructure, like smart pavement or virtual guardrails, that talks to cars.

As urban areas and companies invest in and improve infrastructure, it’s important to consider how Sensors can feed data into the IoT and make these urban areas safer and more efficient and to – as the saying goes – “work smarter, not harder."

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