Smart garbage trucks to flag safety and maintenance issues on roads

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truck bullbar equipped with smart cameras

Waste trucks in Brimbank City Council will be equipped with high-resolution cameras and GPS sensors to identify maintenance issues on the road and roadside.

The network of trucks is to be connected via the 5G network and utilises the IoT (Internet of Things).

The collaboration between Brimbank City Council, in Melbourne’s west, and Swinburne University of Technology should reduce the time it takes to identify, document and fix issues.

Data captured from the trucks will be sent in real time to a cloud-based system that can create a map of assets requiring maintenance, such as road signs, bus shelters or damaged roads.

“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,” says Brimbank Mayor Councillor Jasmine Nguyen. “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. Simply put, this project will help Council respond faster to assets that need maintenance.”

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, reports a Swinburne news post. Maintenance teams will receive information directly to their smartphones and be able to upload proof of maintenance on the spot.

The new system is tipped to reduce 50 percent of asset auditing costs.

The project is supported by $1.8 million in federal funding from the government’s 5G Innovation Initiative.

Brimbank Council has 900 kilometres of road under maintenance and spends an estimated $15 to $20 million annually maintaining and improving roads and roadside assets.

“Swinburne is bringing together researchers, government and industry to co-create safe, resilient solutions for smart and sustainable cities,” says Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman (pictured above, at left), director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future and Digital Innovation Lab. “Together, we are enhancing access to services, places and economic opportunities, and improving quality of life.”

Images credit: Dr Abdur Forkan

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