Home » Australian rubbish trucks retrofitted as part of smart city ambitions

Australian rubbish trucks retrofitted as part of smart city ambitions

by Sion Geschwindt
Australian rubbish trucks retrofitted as part of smart city ambitions

A new project will use high-resolution cameras and GPS sensors attached to rubbish trucks to identify problems such as potholes and damaged road signs in Brimbank, Australia.

Australia’s government has supported the project with AU$1.18m (£0.62m) in federal funding to demonstrate how 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) can support smart cities across the country.

The data captured from the connected devices will be sent in real-time to a cloud-based system to create a map of assets that require maintenance, such as road signs, bus shelters or damaged roads.

A research collaboration between Swinburne University of Technology and Brimbank City Council found that an interconnected network of garbage trucks could be the new frontline in repairing local roads.

Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman, who is director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future and Digital Innovation Lab, said: “Swinburne is bringing together researchers, government and industry to co-create safe, resilient solutions for smart and sustainable cities.

“We are delighted to be working with the forward-thinking Brimbank Council, and utilising Swinburne’s leading capabilities and world-renowned expertise in IoT and digital innovation to demonstrate a solution that can be used in cities across Australia and around the world.”

The stereo vision and depth cameras attached to the garbage trucks will collect 3D perception data at a rate of 900 megabits per second.  For comparison, average mobile download speeds in Australia in 2020 were around 43 megabits per second.

As part of the project, maintenance teams will be able to get information directly on their phones and upload proof of maintenance performed on the spot.

Jasmine Nguyen, Mayor of Brimbank, added: “Residents have told us via the Community Survey that improving the appearance of Brimbank’s roads, road signs, bus stop shelters and roadside spaces is a high priority.

“This innovative 5G-based project offers us a quicker and more efficient way to identify which assets need maintenance, and to get the information to the work crews.”

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