A town on the edge of Gleniffer Braes in East Renfrewshire is at the core of a trial of a potentially “revolutionary” road sensor device that could make the roads of Scotland safer in terms of the annual dose of ice and snow.
A team of innovators is using robust sensors to test a cost-effective “smart gritting” device that monitors road temperature and could bring an end to the annual “where are the gritters?” cry.
The sensors to be built on roads on the outskirts of Barrhead will allow road maintenance crews to know where their winter maintenance efforts should be centered.
It could be rolled out across Scotland if the pilot project, which is running this winter, is successful.
The first device to use such a network of sensors for “smart gritting.” is assumed to be.
The first local authority to test the new framework is East Renfrewshire Council. It is sponsored by CENSIS, a University of Glasgow-based non-profit innovation center that was founded six years ago.
In an area prone to low surface temperatures, the sensor system was built – to measure the temperature of the road.
Ultimately, the data will feed into a mapping application that will know the roads most affected by ice and frost.
The data will also be integrated into the “predictive model” defined by CENSIS, which will improve road safety and reduce disruptions to travel.
In addition to detailed weather forecast information, East Renfrewshire Council said the sensors have also been used to “better inform” and modify gritting targets in real time to enhance public safety.
The sensor system is still a prototype, but CENSIS says it is based on “low-cost technology” and “designed to be expanded in a cost-effective manner.”
CENSIS states that it is a ‘fit-and-forget sensor’ which does not require the operation of external equipment, such as a power link, which in turn keeps costs down.
No one else has done this form of software integration before, which is essential to making it functional and realistic for communities and suitable for wider implementation, said a CENSIS spokesperson.
It’s a collection of sensors that calculate the temperature of the road surface and link to networks to transmit the municipality’s real-time data. In combination with existing weather stations and the mapping system, this information is used to assign gritting resources to areas that need them most.
“The system integrates with mapping software already used by East Renfrewshire Council and many other local authorities, so councils don’t have to invest in new software or train staff on new systems if they want to use this solution,” he said.
To provide the data, it uses two separate communications networks. The infrastructure and connectivity is available in Scotland.
It could make the process of gritting roads smarter, safer and simpler in terms of the Scotland-wide effect, reducing the risk of winter accidents and improving pedestrian safety.’ The knowledge will encourage councils to make informed choices.
“Our work with East Renfrewshire Council is a clear, tangible example of how the use of sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) technology can bring real benefits to people across Scotland,” said Stephen Milne, business development manager at CENSIS.
“Although this is just an early iteration of the use of IoT in the gritting service, the information already gathered in an initial trial will be used in the coming years to make the process of gritting roads smarter, safer and easier.”
The technology is hoped to help solve the problems that Scotland faced nine years ago when a freeze caused havoc on roads across Scotland and a thaw resulted in a £ 2 billion road repair bill.
Local authorities stockpiled rock salt the next year to ensure they weren’t caught off guard.
Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Minister of Connectivity, said, “It is great to see sensor technology being used in a real-world application like smart gritting, helping East Renfrewshire to improve road services and safety.”
The advantages of the Internet of Things (II) are clearly shown by this pilot project.