Upgrading Public Transportation in the Smart City Era

Upgrading Public Transportation in the Smart City Era

An efficient public transportation system is fundamental to the success of any major city, providing thousands or possibly millions of residents and commuters with the mobility they need to live and work in a bustling metropolis. However, with the drive towards smarter cities, governments are coming under increasing pressure to improve the services they offer, as well as tackle issues such as pollution, crime and public safety. For many cities, particularly those with aging transport infrastructures, these are significant challenges.

Shaping the Smart Cities of the Future

Many cities around the world are turning to next-generation technology to help resolve these challenges – notably the creation of safer transportation networks in crowded urban environments. While many autonomous road vehicle projects are underway across the globe, solutions like the VIA Mobile360 ADAS are proving to be an invaluable step stone on the journey to eventual full automation.

The good news is that ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) can be implemented into existing transport networks, providing ‘smart city’ benefits without the need to overhaul the entire transport infrastructure. This is a pivotal transition on the path towards the smart city of the future, implementing tangible, incremental benefits that improve current infrastructure, to offer a safer level of service for both drivers, passengers and other road users.

Combining ADAS and Smart Surveillance

ADAS can also be combined with other smart surveillance technologies to not only monitor conditions outside the bus, but also provide internal surveillance to safeguard passengers. For example, the in-vehicle systems that provide ADAS can be adapted to also include monitoring of the interior of a public bus or metro cabin. The latest in-vehicle systems from VIA support up to nine security cameras in a single integrated unit – ample flexibility for expanded systems that include internal vehicle surveillance.

Our engineers are indeed proving that it is possible to create systems that aid crime prevention and improve passenger safety, while offering the benefits of a fully-integrated ADAS – and it can be implemented with a customized software suite that suits the specific requirements of the bus operator’s needs. And it doesn’t stop there. More advanced implementations of Edge AI technology could one day enable facial recognition for example, perhaps to help prevent fare evasion, or maybe as a payment authentication mechanism.

Similarly, we can envisage systems that integrate driver behavior monitoring, further improving vehicle safety by detecting potentially dangerous situations involving the driver. Whether it is spotting the driver using a phone while on the road, or noting signs of fatigue, like drooping eyelids and repeated yawning – the system could detect these behaviors and automatically issue an alert to the driver, and to the fleet management center where video footage can be scrutinized in more detail.

Smart Cities Aren’t Built, They’re Grown

Combining ADAS, Edge AI and smart surveillance technology to improve existing transport infrastructure is a strategy within reach for most municipalities around the world (the only real impediment being a sufficiently mature mobile network infrastructure). Many decision makers are waking up to the idea that the smart city of the future can be built upon existing frameworks. It’s not always practical, or indeed desirable, to tear down the systems we have in place now.

At VIA we are working with clients to provide solutions on several smart city projects. We are finding that many clients are increasingly looking for flexible systems that can deliver on several fronts – driver monitoring, plus 360 surround view, plus ADAS, plus passenger security – or any mix of the above. As a single-solution provider we are gaining experience in delivering solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each transport service provider – needs that are broad and varied, often requiring multiple levels of customization.

The monumental task of upgrading the major cities of the word is already underway. For VIA that currently means helping to create transportation networks where commuters, pedestrians and drivers feel safe – a challenge that we are learning more about on an almost daily basis.

VIA Technologies, Inc.