Busan Smart City Project Paves the Way for Safer Roads with LiDAR-Based IoT Solution

Smart cities—once a thing of science fiction—are quickly becoming a reality thanks to advances in smart technologies like LiDAR. Smart cities make people’s lives better—from alleviating daily inconveniences like making it easier to find parking to improving safety by optimizing traffic policies that make the city safer and more efficient to navigate.

Paramount to any smart city project is pedestrian safety. According to the Smart City Hub, pedestrian safety has only worsened with increasing traffic congestion as cities continue to expand and their populations swell. The most recent road safety report from the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that annual road traffic deaths have grown to 1.35 million—and is now the leading cause of death globally for individuals between the ages of 5 and 29. A disproportionate number of these fatalities are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Smarter road management and better traffic policies are critical to saving lives and building safer cities.

A recent LiDAR deployment in Busan, South Korea tackled the problem of road safety as part of their larger initiative to build people- and future-oriented cities by leveraging IoT technologies and innovations that improve citizens’ safety and quality of life. Keep reading to learn how!

In 2012, South Korea held the second highest pedestrian death rate among OECD countries at 10.8 road fatalities per 100,000 people. Since then, the country has made considerable efforts to successfully lower these figures. After implementing these changes, in 2017, South Korea recorded a lower number of pedestrian crashes than the preceding 5 years. Despite these improvements, the job of increasing pedestrian safety is never done, and as city populations continue to grow, optimizing roads for safety remains a priority for the government of South Korea.

Prior to implementing a LiDAR-based solution in Busan, the city had depended on manual data collection methods to understand traffic patterns and inform road policies. However, manual methods are notoriously error-prone and require staff in the field to collect the information, expending valuable time for less-than-optimal results.

In addition, the city had considered AI-based CCTV technology; however, the CCTV solution could not provide the data reliability the city needed to handle such a critical application as pedestrian safety. The technology was also vulnerable to environmental conditions like snow, rain, fog, and wind—making it a poor choice for predominantly outdoor deployment.

Ultimately, the data they were working with simply wasn’t accurate enough to make informed decisions that could save countless lives.

The Smart City Project ultimately chose a robust 3D LiDAR solution designed by a technology partnership between Quanergy Systems and iCent. The solution features Quanergy’s M-Series LiDAR sensors, installed at key points throughout the city to monitor and autonomously collect traffic data.

The LiDAR sensors continuously monitor roads and intersections, gathering reliable data about how and when people and vehicles use this critical infrastructure. For example, the LiDAR sensors can count the number of pedestrians jaywalking, measure vehicle traffic volume, identify and count the number of speeding vehicles, and more.

This data can then be compared by time of day, day of the week, to identify patterns and derive actionable insights. Data is then analyzed using Quanergy’s computer vision software QORTEX DTC™ and further evaluated with the iSaver data analytics platform from iCENT. An intuitive dashboard allows users to easily consume the data, better understand traffic patterns, predict safety hazards, and ultimately inform transportation policies to improve pedestrian safety.

For example, data from Quanergy’s LiDAR sensors is being used to inform decisions and understand key metrics, including:

• How many traffic lights should be installed, and where, to be most effective?
• How long should the pedestrian crossing timing be?
• What hours and days of the week are experiencing the highest traffic?
• And much more

Quanergy’s LiDAR solution is central to building an Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) infrastructure—a key component of South Korea’s smart city strategy. The deployment in Busan is the second installation at one of several pilot cities within the smart city project. The first installation was in Nowongu, Seoul, South Korea.

Collected traffic data sent to Busan Smart City Traffic Center

3D LiDAR technology is uniquely suited to meet the challenges of collecting critical pedestrian safety data. Here are some of the key capabilities of LiDAR technology that made it the best choice for the deployment in Busan:

1. Data Accuracy and Integrity—In Any Environment
When lives are at stake, data accuracy is of primary importance. Quanergy’s 3D LiDAR sensors provide 95%+ detection accuracy and 24/7 reliability in all lighting and atmospheric conditions. Dust, high wind, rain, snow, bright sunlight, or fog are no match for LiDAR. Because of this, LiDAR sensors are ideal for ensuring data accuracy and integrity in outdoor applications like monitoring traffic and cross walks.

2. Increased Situational Awareness
Quanergy’s 3D LiDAR sensors each capture hundreds of thousands of data points per second. The level of detail that LiDAR provides enables greater situational awareness than is possible with cameras or manual data collection. For example, with LiDAR, you can “see” all objects in a scanned area, identify what it is (i.e. person or vehicle), and precisely measure their location and the speed at which they are traveling. This makes it possible to capture a complete picture of traffic scenarios and ultimately determine how to effectively prevent safety incidents.

3. Low Total Cost of Ownership
LiDAR sensors provide a low total cost of ownership compared to alternative technologies. The sensors’ 360-degree coverage means that only a few devices are required to monitor each traffic zone. Plus, M8 Series sensors from Quanergy are rugged and built-to-last in any environment. With just a few, high quality devices to install and maintain, users can monitor traffic activity and collect critical data throughout the entire city for a comparably low cost.

4. Versatile Capabilities
LiDAR sensors are a versatile technology that can handle the varied demands of traffic monitoring applications–from identifying vehicles at high speeds on the highways to visualizing people hidden in blind zones. LiDAR sensors from Quanergy feature an extended range up to 200 meters and lightning-fast data processing to capture critical information even at highway speeds.

This deployment—the first LiDAR-based IoT solution of its kind in Korea—collected critical data for the Busan Smart City Center and connected that data with V2X (vehicle to everything) equipment and beacon equipment for a comprehensive smart traffic solution. By feeding the data into V2X, traffic information can now be shared with drivers in real time to increase driver awareness and ultimately improve public safety.

Overall, Quanergy’s LiDAR solution provided >95% accuracy and reliable performance in all ambient conditions, day or night. With more accurate data, Busan was able to improve the effectiveness of their transportation policies—from 40% to 90%. In addition, the LiDAR solution provided a low total cost of ownership (TCO), for a cost savings of more than 30%. Using LiDAR also automated the data collection, eliminating the need for manual, error-prone data collection methods. Ultimately, this deployment is just the beginning, paving the way for safer, more efficient roads across South Korea—and the world.