Road sensor designed to monitor e-scooters, e-bikes
The traffic and variety of personal mobility vehicles (PMVs) such as e-scooters and e-bikes has grown significantly in recent years, yet there are still no systems that allow us to monitor and control their use accurately and efficiently. Now, researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València’s Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (ITACA) have developed what they claim to be the first road sensor that is tailored for PMVs.
“While conventional vehicles are carefully monitored through the various sensors that are widely installed in cities, scooters, bikes and other personal mobility vehicles lack accurate and efficient tools to perform this monitoring,” said Antonio Mocholí, Director of the ITACA’s Traffic Control Systems team.
“This situation has negative repercussions at several levels, most importantly with regard to safety, as current technologies are not able to monitor … the traffic flows of PMVs and interactions with other users, or to detect potential hazards for each of them. The system that we have designed and approved allows us to obtain highly valuable information using an extremely cheap and reliable circuit.”
The new sensor uses magnetic loops and is capable of recording and categorising the use of PMVs. It is claimed to be an improvement on the current magnetic loop sensors used for motorised vehicles and provides highly useful tools for remotely analysing PMV traffic. One benefit is that it instantly obtains information about speed and direction of travel, making it possible to calculate traffic density in a given area, and even the types of scooters (based on their power) and the model of vehicle.
“The sensor is able to detect the magnetic footprint of each model of electric scooter and this allows us to identify its category and brand,” said researcher Carlos Moyano Gómez. “Monitoring these parameters helps to improve compliance with municipal regulations and implement proper mobility planning, including the management of traffic lights, infrastructures and routes when roadworks and maintenance are being carried out, etc.”
Now patented by the UPV, the sensor has been approved for urban settings and can be installed on streets and roads with PMV traffic, either for reserved or shared lanes and one- or two-way traffic. Implementing the sensor should help to monitor new modes of mobility and, in particular, road safety, both for pedestrians and the other vehicles that travel around the city every day.
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