Wednesday, 08 July 2020 13:10

Cubic’s GRIDSMART partners with University of Melbourne to tackle transport challenges due to COVID-19


Cubic Transportation Systems business division GRIDSMART is partnering with the University of Melbourne to tackle what it says are new transport challenges arising from COVID-19.

According to Cubic Transportation as a result of the global pandemic, many cities around the world are seeing “unprecedented levels of walking and cycling, creating new challenges for urban centres that usually move people on public transport or in cars”.

The company said on Wednesday Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane are now “busily building extensive new cycle ways to accommodate increasing numbers of cyclists and pedestrians in the urban environment” - with some of Melbourne’s bike routes having reported over 300% more use, “which is set to increase as more people return to work”.

“With the huge additional influx of bikes, pedestrians and cars, there is a significant risk of more congestion and accidents at intersections,” said Chris Bax, vice president of ITS global strategy, Cubic Transportation Systems.

“In order to protect cyclists and reduce congestion, cities must embrace technologies that integrate multiple sources of data to optimise efficiencies.”

Under the iMOVE CRC, Cubic says it is working with the University of Melbourne and several local government agencies to bring the improved detection needed at intersections to tackle current and future challenges.

“The advanced detection system made possible through GRIDSMART allows Machine Learning control strategies to consider all modes of transport, in particular Vulnerable Road Users such as cyclists and pedestrians,” said AIMES Director Professor Majid Sarvi, The University of Melbourne.

Cubic Transportation describes GRIDSMART as a "complete omnidirectional-imaging, real-time computer vision product, comprising hardware and software", that works with the traffic controller to actuate intersections for cars and bikes to provide rich intersection performance data, with GRIDSMART’s SMARTMOUNT Bell camera being installed at strategic locations in the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), located in the heart of Melbourne.

GRIDSMART uses its fisheye Bell Camera, along with real-time computer vision tracking and deep neural net classification, to track and discriminate bicyclists from other road users as they pass into and through intersections, with the system providing improved safety for bicyclists while simultaneously improving intersection efficiency for multimodal traffic.

“The GRIDSMART technology provides a 360-degree live view of all traffic at the intersection. The system tracks cyclists as they travel through the intersection, providing the correct amount of green time for individuals based on their chosen path and speed,” said Chris Bax.

“It also aims to produce improved road safety by detecting wrong way driving and increase situational awareness by providing live video from the intersection.”

Bax said that to meet the new hurdles resulting from changes in transport patterns, drivers will need to be better informed, buses will need to be expedited with signal prioritisation and crowded walkways must be dispersed safely - and by utilising big data and artificial intelligence, GRIDSMART technology will help to address these needs.

“The GRIDSMART camera is constantly learning, so it knows not to give priority to a turning vehicle when there’s just one car waiting, but instead considers how many cars are waiting before it decides to actually start to give right turns,” said Bax.

“It also categorises vehicles, so we can distinguish between cyclists, cars, and trucks.”

“Our partnership with Cubic and the cutting edge technologies they have developed and deployed in AIMES are helping to achieve our vision of delivering safer, cleaner and more sustainable transport outcomes,” concluded Professor Sarvi.

The GRIDSMART cameras are expected to be fully installed and go live in September this year.

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