New LiDAR solutions for next-generation intelligent traffic systems

LiDAR solutions are poised to revolutionize intelligent traffic systems (ITS). The newly released Leddar T16 and M16-LSR sensors from LeddarTech represent a step towards the future of smart transport systems. 

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) sensors have been in the headlines in recent years for their role in the development of self-driving vehicles. LiDAR is a technology that uses beams of laser light to detect objects and measure distances, helping cars to identify objects and navigate around them safely. Recently, solid-state LiDAR has disrupted the autonomous car industry as they are more robust, compact, and cost-effective than their mechanical LiDAR predecessors.1,2  

While self-driving cars rely on 3D LiDAR systems, 2D LiDAR systems, which can identify objects and measure distances, are beginning to find an increasing number of remote monitoring and surveillance applications.3 Now, 2D LiDAR systems are starting to make a splash in the world of intelligent transport systems (ITS).4

Figure 1: Intelligent transport systems keep traffic flowing efficiently. Image credit: Pixabay.com/Pexels.

ITS uses advanced technology to solve transportation problems like congestion while improving safety and efficiency. Examples of ITS systems include traffic light systems and pedestrian crossing that detect approaching vehicles and pedestrians, free flow electronic toll collection systems that automatically charge the correct amount for vehicles passing through, and digital signs that advise drivers of the quickest routes.5-7

While many roads and cities now utilize some form of ITS technology, most are still a long way from the ideal smart city or highway. In the future, ITS systems aim to automatically send information to cars about the best route to take, enabling them to safely and efficiently navigate with minimal interruptions. In cities, ITS systems will also improve mobility efficiency and safety for public transportation, pedestrians, and bikes resulting in better commutes and more livable cities.8,9

Intelligent transport systems rely on sensors to detect and profile vehicles

Vehicle detection and profiling is an essential part of ITS. In an ideal world, vehicle detection sensors would seamlessly provide accurate vehicle counts, classification, speed, and occupancy, without causing any disruption to traffic.

The current generation of ITS, including automatic tolling systems, generally rely on in-ground sensors for vehicle detection and classification.  While in-ground sensors are the most mature and widely used technology, they come with several drawbacks: they are subject to stress as traffic drive over them reducing sensor and road surface lifespan; their repair or replacement usually requires lane closures, resulting in traffic disruptions; and most inground sensors only provide basic vehicle detection and counting information. In-ground sensors such as inductive loops may also be affected by water, snow, or ice accumulations on the road surface. Most in-ground sensors struggle to profile and classify vehicles accurately.10

LiDAR systems for intelligent transport systems

LiDAR systems can detect and profile objects from a distance using beams of laser light. As a result, LiDAR sensors do not need to be placed in-ground. Instead, LiDARs can be placed above roads and highways, on traffic lights, or on buildings to detect and profile vehicles. Reliable LiDAR systems can, therefore, be used in intelligent transportation, traffic management, vehicle profiling, electronic tolling, and speed enforcement.10

Figure 2: Vehicle detection and profiling for electronic toll collection using LiDAR. Image credit: LeddarTech.

Until recently, the applications of LiDAR sensors in ITS have been limited by their high operating costs and complexity. What’s more, mechanical scanning LiDAR systems have struggled to identify trailers or tailgating cars, black or shiny vehicles, and vehicles traveling at high speed. Mechanical LiDAR systems can also be affected by adverse weather conditions, resulting in poor overall sensor reliability.11-13

Figure 3: Advanced traffic monitoring using LiDAR. Image credit: LeddarTech.

The next generation of LiDAR for intelligent transport systems from LeddarTech

Now, a new generation of high-performance LiDARs from LeddarTech are delivering high-range, high resolution sensors, with long-term reliability that can rival in-ground sensors.  These flash solid-state LiDAR sensors, which are based on LeddarTech’s patented technology, use provide better performance, reliability, and cost-efficiency.4,14  

The new Leddar T16 is a complete traffic sensor housed in a weatherproof enclosure that is specifically designed for traffic detection and profiling, while the recently introduced M16-LSR is a compact, cost-effective LiDAR module which can be integrated into current and future systems for applications such as speed enforcement, pedestrian detection, and collision avoidance.4,14,15

Figure 4: Leddar T16 Traffic Sensor (left) and Leddar M16-LSR LiDAR Module (right). Image credit: LeddarTech.

The M16-LSR Module combines the range of the previously released Vu8 sensor, with the resolution of the M16-LED to provide the ideal high-range, high-resolution, cost-effective traffic sensor. Efficient laser flash illumination and a range of 2D field-of-view options, combined with a refresh rate of up to 100 Hz, make it the ideal flexible sensor to identify vehicles, bikes and pedestrians in urban environments.14,16

The T16 Traffic Sensor provides an increased refresh rate of 200 Hz, enabling it to identify fast-moving vehicles more accurately and differentiate between, for example, a car with a trailer, a car towing another car, and a car tailgating behind another car. Accurate profiling allows electronic tolling systems to automatically apply the correct charge, increasing the efficiency of revenue collection. Furthermore, the T16’s weatherproof housing enables it to identify and classify cars, trucks and motorcycles  in all weather conditions.14,15

T16 and M16-LSR at ITS World September 17th-21st

The Leddar T16 and Leddar M16-LSR solid-state LiDARs from LeddarTech will be showcased for the first time at the world’s flagship event for ITS, the ITS World Congress in Copenhagen September 17th-21st. Join LeddarTech and their partners for a demonstration at booth C4-056.4,17

References and further reading

  1. ‘Creating Autonomous Vehicle Systems’ —Liu S, Li L, Tang J, Wu S, Gaudiot JL, Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2017.
  2. ‘The World’s First Solid-State 3D LiDAR IC Receives Two CES 2018 Innovation Awards’ https://leddartech.com/download/worlds-first-solid-state-3d-lidar-ic-receives-two-ces-2018-innovation-awards
  3. ‘LiDAR Remote Sensing and Applications’ — Dong P, Chen Q, CRC Press Taylor & Francis Group, 2018.
  4. ‘LeddarTech Introduces Game-changing LiDAR Sensors at ITS World Congress 2018’ https://leddartech.com/game-changing-lidar-its-world-2018/
  5. ‘Towards the Development of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ — Figueiredo L, Jesus I, Machado JAT, Ferreira JR, Martins de Carvalho JL, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems. Proceedings, 2001.
  6. ‘Intelligent Transport Systems’ — Deakin E, Frick K, Trapenberg Skabardonis A, ACCESS, 2009.
  7. ‘Research into intelligent transport systems (ITS) technologies and efficiency’ — Jarašūniene A, Trasport, 2007.
  8. ‘Cooperative intelligent transport systems standards in Europe’ — Festag A, IEEE Communications, 2014.
  9. ‘Vehicular Communication Systems: Enabling technologies, applications, and future outlook on Intelligent Transportation’ — Papadimitratos P, De La Fortelle A, Evenssen K, Brignolo R, Cosenza S,  IEEE Communications, 2009.
  10. ‘A Summary of Vehicle Detection and Surveillance Technologies used in Intelligent Transportation Systems’
    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/pubs/vdstits2007/vdstits2007.pdf
  11. ‘Sensor Technologies for Intelligent Transportation Systems’ — Guerrero-Ibáñez J, Zeadally S, Contreras-Castillo J, Sensors, 2018.
  12. ‘Using LiDAR to Validate the Performance of Vehicle Classification Stations’ — Lee H, Coifman B, Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems, 2015.
  13. ‘Traffic Flow Estimate from LiDAR data: Operational experiences’ — Moafipoor S, Toth CK, Grejner-Brzezinska DA, PECORA 16 Proceedings, 2005.
  14. ‘Intelligent Transportation Systems’ https://leddartech.com/market/intelligent-transportation-systems/
  15. ‘Leddar T16’ https://leddartech.com/modules/leddar-t16-traffic-sensor/
  16. ‘Leddar M16’ https://leddartech.com/modules/m16-multi-segment-sensor-module/
  17. ‘ITS World Congress 2018’ https://itsworldcongress.com

Leddar M16 product information

More on LeddarTech solutions for Intelligent Transportation Systems

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This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by LeddarTech Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit LeddarTech Inc.

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