A 5G-enabled predictive parking system is among a group of transport technology ideas to be trialled in the West Midlands.
The West Midlands 5G (WM5G) technology programme is investing £2.4m in seven UK-based consortiums to support the development of new products and services that could transform road and rail transport across the region.
Kerbside technology company AppyWay is working with geographic data and imaging specialist Getmapping on a project called Predikt, a predictive parking system that uses 5G-enabled kerbside imaging to reduce the amount of time spent finding a space.
If successful, drivers will have access to accurate predictive availability of parking spaces, making journeys quicker and reducing the time they vehicles spend on the road.
Rob Stait, chief commercial officer at AppyWay, said: “We are looking forward to making a positive impact with our predictive parking technology. This builds on previous successful collaborations we have had with TfWM and WM5G. Together they are driving the Midlands forward as a leading UK hub of transport innovation.”
Other projects to receive funding include traffic management systems making use of artificial intelligence (AI), Lidar scanning, sensors and video analytics.
The projects are scheduled to run until the end of 2021. Each project will include trialling and testing of their innovative service in the West Midlands region.
WM5G is a four year programme launched in 2018 by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It aims to develop the UK’s first region-wide 5G testbed. DCMS expects to invest over £20m in this programme, in addition to substantial West Midlands public sector and private investment until to March 2022.
Chris Holmes, programme director, transport at WM5G, said: “We are really pleased to be awarding the funding to projects that we truly believe, when proven, will transform transport within the region.”
Chris Lane, head of transport innovation at TfWM, added: “We have ambitious transport plans for the region and the funding competition with West Midlands 5G forms a key part of that. The outcome of these trials will make a significant difference to transport across the region and have national relevance.”
A second round of £2.5m funding competition for 5G-enabled road and rail trials that closes on 2 December is open to UK registered businesses.
The winning projects from the first round of the competition
Capacity Manager: Blacc, Immense, Elgin, University of Warwick, and O2
A traffic management solution in which live traffic data is transferred in real-time over 5G to a dynamic road network model. Artificial intelligence (AI) working on the data provided, combined with historic event information will create scenarios that provide real-time insights, allowing incidents and congestion to be better managed. When proven, this could result in less congestion, with traffic flowing more freely.
CURBS: Vortex IoT, National Express and BT/EE
Using Lidar sensors and advanced software, real-time 3D point-cloud data will be sent over 5G to provide up-to-date and detailed maps, monitoring roads and rail infrastructure. Following a successful trial, the system would provide live on-street parking information, identify the location of potholes, improve cyclist safety, reduce vehicle damage and much more.
Passenger Management: GoMedia, Wordnerds and Icomera
Passenger Management is an AI-led system that provides intelligence in interpretation of live customer feedback over 5G. Immediate problems can be resolved and a database of categorised issues will provide insights for the operator to improve services. The aim of the project is to enhance the traveller experience by improving the products and services available to passengers across the transport system.
Predikt: AppyWay and Getmapping
A predictive parking system that uses 5G-enabled kerbside imaging to reduce the amount of time spent finding a parking space. This could reduce the estimated £373m spent each year in wasted time, fuel and emissions caused by drivers searching for a place to park. If successful, drivers would have access to highly accurate predictive availability of parking spaces, making their journeys quicker and reducing the time vehicles spend on the road.
Transport Accessibility: GoMedia and Icomera
Over 40% of the visually impaired are unable to make all or some of their journeys with public transport independently. With the help of 5G, this project could rectify that by creating a passenger service that would allow more visually impaired people to travel on public transport, helping to develop the transport system of the future for all.
Tram Safety: Icomera, Classone Systems and DigitalRail
Using 5G to stream CCTV footage from trams, images will be analysed real-time to detect people and objects. This would help to increase passenger safety, assist with social distancing, and identify where improvements to accessibility may be required. Passengers could benefit from a safer, more tailored service.
Urban Tourism: You. Smart. Thing. Landmrk, Imagemakers and Oodl
Using 5G-enabled sensors at stations and major venues combined with booking and travel information, real-time traveller demand insights for rail and road networks will be created. ‘Last mile’ routes to destinations and investigations into how to influence travellers will be explored. This would provide a transport demand model for large cultural events, enhancing the experience for those attending.
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