Last month, Seoul Robotics, who specializes in using 3D perception technology for smart infrastructure solutions, unveiled their latest solution: An end-to-end intersection traffic solution. The solution utilizes the company’s SENSR-I 3D perception platform, developed specifically for infrastructure, and “transforms raw 3D data into actionable insights for traffic controllers,” per the company’s release. The traffic solution goes beyond traditional traffic control measures, interpreting real-time data to help drive roadway decisions.
The SENSR platform combines 3D perception technology – mostly lidar, and crucially the company is lidar-agnostic, giving more options to cities and other government entities implementing the technology – with artificial intelligence to drive real-time decision making on the road. With this intersection solution, the platform can detect pedestrians (in addition to cyclists and vehicles) approaching an intersection and send a signal to the traffic controller that a crossing will be happening.
Additionally, and where the system really separates itself from traditional ones, is that it can track in real-time how movement is happening across an intersection. In other words, if a pedestrian is moving more slowly than a typical pedestrian, a signal can be sent to the traffic controller to delay the signal from changing, making these crossings safer for pedestrians, particularly those who may have disabilities or are older.
As more cities across the United States are looking to meet climate goals in part by becoming less car-dependent and more pedestrian-friendly, a big part of achieving that will be simply making things safer, and this is the kind of solution that can do just that. As Seoul Robotics Vice President of Business Development William Muller mentioned in a conversation about this with Geo Week News, many people simply don’t press the cross button with modern systems, opening up danger situations at intersections. Having a detection technology – which, by utilizing lidar, is not collecting personal and biometric data on individuals – that can automatically trigger these signals is a boon.
In our conversation with Muller about the intersection solution, we also spoke a bit about some of the broader missions for Seoul Robotics and the idea of infrastructure perception systems. It’s something they’ve been focusing on as more vehicles on the road incorporate Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), and in some parts of the country with fully autonomous vehicles taking the road. One of their earlier concepts using their 3D perception technology, for example, was to detect wrong-way drivers on roads, which to this point has been a success.
More broadly speaking, these kinds of technologies are going to become crucial as vehicles become smarter and more autonomous. As anyone who has studied the autonomous vehicle industry knows, one of the big challenges is driving around cities, particularly older ones which were not necessarily built around cars. Driving on a mostly straight, well-mapped highway is one thing, but navigating a busy city is another. One way to make that easier is with smart infrastructure solutions, like these 3D perception systems, that can “talk” to vehicles and make navigation safer for not only drivers, but also pedestrians and cyclists in the surrounding area.
This is where Seoul Robotics being lidar-agnostic comes into play as well. As Muller explains, it’s unlikely at this point that OEMs in the automotive industry are going to standardize their perception systems, but rather each have their own proprietary system. Because of that, he says, it’s important for cities to emphasize openness in their solutions. Seoul Robotics’ SENSR platform is not only designed for easy installation onto existing infrastructure with different lidars, but also includes open architecture.
I suspect in the coming years we’re going to see more cities embrace these kinds of open smart infrastructure solutions like what is being offered by Seoul Robotics. Right now, they’re intersection solution is being used not only in the United States, but also in Europe, and the company has established relationships in Chattanooga as well as Peachtree Corners outside of Atlanta. We’re still in the beginning of this evolution of infrastructure, but Muller says Seoul Robotics is ready to continuing growing, saying, “Our goal is to make this product a scalable technology versus just remaining a science experiment, and cool demos and POCs, and this is part of it.”