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Building a safer, more optimized transportation system: How 3D LiDAR can make it happen

May 25, 2022  |  Brad Sherrard

Quanergy to present at Lidar Coalition summit panel focused on US roadways 

By Brad Sherrard, Chief Revenue Officer, Quanergy

Traffic fatalities reached a record high in 2021 – an estimated 42,915 people died on U.S. roadways, the highest number of fatalities since 2005. That’s according to the latest data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

These are staggering numbers and while there are numerous factors involved, LiDAR-based technologies bring a lot of opportunities for mitigating risks and preventing many such incidents.  I’ll be joining industry representatives and policymakers at the Lidar Coalition’s inaugural policy summit in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, May 25 to discuss how emerging technology can make transportation and roadways safer. The Lidar Coalition, of which Quanergy is a member, is an industry consortium focused on raising awareness and visibility of LiDAR and its many applications. 

I’ll be presenting about the role we  play in making these safer and more efficient, and I’ll also demonstrate how our M-series sensors and 3D Perception platform, QORTEX DTC™ work for these use cases. 

The old approaches can’t suffice for today’s needs

What’s needed is a way to better understand the real-time and predicted state of objects in the infrastructure and LiDAR is uniquely positioned to tackle this challenge.

Traditionally, the systems being used to monitor roads, highways, roundabouts and other transit infrastructure have relied on a series of cameras feeding into a central monitoring station and video management platform. But these sensors typically are 2D – and they only provide a micro view. They can’t always accurately detect the presence of people, vehicles or objects in the field of view – and it’s not always clear how far away something is. In addition, these sensors can’t always operate well in all lighting and weather conditions, specifically at night when the majority of fatalities occur.

Creating more resilient transportation systems and increasing efficiency

With our 3D perception software, we enable the accurate and anonymous capture of individual and vehicle movements, within dense crowds and across large areas. We’re able to provide our partners, municipalities, government organizations with powerful data about intersections, roundabouts, roads, highways, parking lots and toll gates. 

With optimized traffic flow and focused safety solutions, municipalities can: 

  • Reduce traffic congestion
  • Increase safety to all modes and pedestrian safety
  • Reduce idling and green

We recently participated in a pilot project with The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to help improve the travel time of that city’s light rail system. The goal was to reduce vehicle transit travel times to avoid riders waiting at red lights and get riders to their destination faster – while also not delaying other road users. To accomplish this, Quanergy worked with TNL to create a smart 3D LiDAR solution to help the agency measure and optimize traffic in real-time. The results so far? We’ve been able to reduce travel time by 66 seconds per light rail vehicle – and increase the likelihood that a train will reach an intersection at a green light by over 20%. And this doesn’t just impact trains and their passengers – this also impacts drivers of cars, bicycles, motorcycles and any other vehicles using San Francisco’s streets. 

LiDAR’s potential to transform transportation

There’s huge untapped potential for LiDAR to help improve our nation’s transportation systems – it can be a key part of the solution, but it’s going to take investment. This week’s panel is a major opportunity for policymakers to learn more about how this technology can make badly needed improvements and re-shape the way we run these vital systems and infrastructure.  

Tags:  Smart City