Wireless Street Lamps for Traffic Monitoring – The Last Mile

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Wireless Street Lamps for Traffic Monitoring

Posted by michael on Thursday January 15, @10:48AM
from the one-big-hotspot dept.

RMH101 writes “The Register has a story about a UK initiative to create a country-wide wireless data network using street lamps. It’s come to pass through a government initiative to monitor all cars’ speed and location, all the time, everywhere. The company involved, Last Mile, are proposing an intelligent mesh of smart street lamps embedded with storage and wireless networking to create 200MBit network access across the UK, including remote areas not reachable by conventional broadband. Work is due to start this year.”


When the UK Highways Agency started planning this future, it put out a tender for the contract to equip the major roads with wireless. “It quickly became apparent to them that Last Mile owned all the relevant patents for the system they had in mind,” reports CEO, Antony Abell. “They went to the old Road Research Laboratory, now the TRL, who made a recommendation for microwave beacon technology for roadside telematics; at the end, they had a pretty good design, but they found that to implement it involved using our patents.”

“But we reckon that we can launch our system with a very conservative data service of up to 40 megabits per second for every user in the micro-cell around a lamp post. And we’re confident that we can then upgrade the performance to a maximum of 200 megabits – maybe not for every user, but for several – in a 200-300 metre range. That’s more data than anybody currently knows what to do with,” Abell said.

Or, it could ride piggyback on the highway network – and be used to provide local services. Not, says Abell, a job he wants: “We are not a service provider. We want to produce the technology – a transceiver post. Most of our electronics goes into a long board which we put inside the post, and then we put the transceiver on the top. We’ve devised various ways to do uploads onto the post, and we’re assuming that most of the information that people will want will be stored there most of the time in a cache. We cache on the post; putting somewhere between a gigabyte to four gigabytes of flash memory into each module.”



16th August 2002

The Highways Agency, which manages and maintains England’s motorways
and trunk roads, is seeking a partner to take its roadside
telecommunications system into the digital age.

To support the Agency’s role as Network Operator expressions of
interest are being invited to revamp and unite its current traffic
telecommunication systems, which serve roadside equipment such as
variable message signs, emergency phones and CCTV cameras, under a
contract worth #400million over 10 years.

The National Roads Telecommunications Services Project (NRTS) will
enable the Highways Agency to plug into the latest technological
improvements to help provide better driver information.

This is the second time the Agency has sought partners in the
telecommunications industry to deliver this essential project.
Expressions of Interest were originally invited in August 2001,
however changes within the industry have prompted a second

The Agency will make available its current network and the service
provider will, under certain constraints, be able to choose how this
service will be provided. As part of the public private partnership,
the successful bidder will have the opportunity to use spare capacity
on the telecommunications network for commercial ventures.


Posted in Technology Review.

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