The UTC's Center for Urban Informatics and Progress, with the Chattanooga Department of Transportation, are partnering with Seoul Robotics and Ouster to make Chattanooga safer for pedestrians utilizing light detection and ranging (lidar). Ouster’s lidar sensors and Seoul Robotics’ perception software, SENSR, which uses deep learning technologies, would help CUIP and CDOT understand pedestrian patterns and risk factors to be mitigated.
The lidar systems will work in conjunction with the existing MLK Smart Corridor sensors to create a more robust picture of how pedestrians and vehicles interact. Lidar sensors and perception software create accurate, 3D representations of the physical environment through the identification and classification of objects, giving researchers the data they need to understand traffic and pedestrian patterns that could be dangerous for citizens. In 2018, Hamilton County had 100 pedestrian injuries and 10 pedestrian fatalities.
“We continue to find ways to work with CUIP and industry partners to further our goal of a safer, smarter Chattanooga,” Chattanooga Smart Cities Director Kevin Comstock said. “We know that technology, data, and collaboration can help us reduce the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities.”
The new lidar sensors will be located in two downtown Chattanooga intersections: Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Market Street, and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Georgia Avenue. These locations were selected for their close proximity to city parks and event spaces and their subsequent high volume of pedestrian activity.
“Collaboration is critical within the smart cities community," said CUIP Director Mina Sartipi. "All of our work is focused on a common good, which leads to a constant flow of progress and innovation to research and technologies. This specific collaboration will give us the ability to make our city much safer for pedestrians.”
The solution offered by Seoul Robotics and Ouster Lidar is able to detect, track and predict the movement of pedestrians and vehicles, identifying potential incidents such as accidents and wrong-way driving as well as better understanding traffic flow and suggesting reroutes. The lidar-based solution will augment existing camera infrastructure to enhance the accuracy and detail of safety data while preserving the privacy of pedestrians.
"Lidar and other 3D data solutions have the potential to make cities safer for both pedestrians and drivers, but for too long the technology has been inaccessible due to cost and the need for affordable, sensor agnostic software," said HanBin Lee, co-founder and CEO of Seoul Robotics. "Our technology is changing that. This installation with the city of Chattanooga and CUIP represents the future of smart cities, and will be instrumental in showcasing to other cities around the world how insights from 3D data can fuel a more efficient and safer society."
“Lidar has great potential to both reduce accidents and increase efficiency by powering smart city infrastructure," said Barrs Lang, general manager of Americas at Ouster. "CUIP and the city of Chattanooga are setting a leading example for the country in how to unlock this potential. This project is just the beginning, and we’re looking forward to working closely together to build a safer, smarter Chattanooga.”