Autonomous vehicles Lidar safety Smart Cities Surveying Technology

Lidar Promises to Make Cities Smarter

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Lidar Promises to Make Cities Smarter

Networked devices are all around us. Some of them enable autonomy of things or AoT™. Lidar promises to make cities smarter but bringing in these sensors will create massive amounts of data that can be a real challenge to manage.

Increasingly, these devices are also providing a path for creating smarter and safer cities – where people, vehicles (horse carriages, cars, bicycles, scooters, pets, robots) and infrastructure interact in highly dynamic situations to achieve multiple objectives – smooth traffic flow, infrastructure management, pedestrian safety, security, emergency management and crime prevention.

From an article in Forbes by Sabbir Rangwala.

Cameras and video analytics are the typical tools of choice. Road sensors of various types are also used to sense traffic flow and enable dynamic traffic signal management. Increasingly, LiDAR is being tested as a beneficial addition – primarily to improve the fidelity of the information, but also to add a new sensing modality that provides 3D information and superior situational awareness. The goal is to fuse dynamic information (and possibly static background information like city maps) to make decisions, with or without humans in the loop.

A recent market study projects the TAM (Total Available Market) for LiDAR in Smart Infrastructure (which includes crowd analytics, perimeter security and road traffic management) to increase from $1.5B in 2025 to $14B in 2030. A note of caution though – Smart Cities implementations are still in the evaluation phase, and LiDAR is likely to capture just a portion of this TAM if and when these initiatives translate into actual deployments.

Funding for Smart City implementations will need to come from government, public and municipal agencies, or commercial entities entrusted with installing and maintaining these systems. Public organizations are fiscally conservative. Adding an expensive new functionality like LiDAR needs to be justified clearly, especially since there are no obvious monetary benefits that can be easily quantified or exploited as investments.

Public agencies also generally have a poor track record of testing and deploying new technologies – either due to lack of internal talent, clear customer focused metrics or bureaucratic process infused with political and public relation constraints. For AoT™ applications in the commercial arena, the case for LiDAR is clear (although it took a while to get there!). For applications like smart cities and security, the need for LiDAR needs to be more clearly explained, given that these are expensive and are currently too immature to operate in a plug and play environment.

For the complete article on lidar promises  CLICK HERE.

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