Aubinger Tunnel near Munich, Germany testing the system
M??nchen, Germany –?? Siemens is developing new technologies to reduce the risk or the consequences of a tunnel fire. The system detects truck parts that are running hot, such as brakes, before the truck reaches the tunnel and can annunciate an alarm in the event of danger, according to the next edition of the magazine Pictures of the Future*, due out soon.
An RFID system collects information about the contents of trucks transporting hazardous goods before they enter the tunnel and passes this information to the tunnel control center so that the fire department is ready with the proper extinguishing agent in the event of a fire.
The Aubinger Tunnel near Munich, Germany began testing the system in May.
The most common cause of tunnel fires are defective vehicles, with the damage being particularly severe if trucks are involved in the accident. This is why trucks transporting hazardous goods are only permitted to use certain tunnels.
The trucks bear a placard with information about the hazardous nature of the load and the tunnel category permitted. Video cameras at the tunnel use the placard to determine whether the vehicle is permitted to pass.
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) has now developed a solution that detects possible risks before the tunnel.
The system uses a combination of video and thermal imaging to determine whether certain truck parts such as wheels, brakes, or engine are dangerously overheated. Image processing software first identifies the recorded vehicle as, for example, a truck.
The program then generates a model of the truck and marks the vehicle components to be checked. The software overlays the video and thermal images and with the help of data regarding the permissible temperature distribution between components can identify overheated parts.
Because the placards on hazardous goods transport trucks are barely legible in poor weather, the researchers developed RFID tags that transmit precise information about the load to a reader located before the tunnel.
With the help of special algorithms, this data query can even take place with the truck traveling at full speed. The system uses battery-powered, active RFID tags because of the required range of 50 meters. To save energy, the tags are activated when prompted by the readers. The developers have also optimized the communications protocols accordingly. A crypto-chip developed by CT prevents the interception and the alteration of the transmitted data. The chip has been optimized for fast data transfer and low power consumption.
Both systems are being developed as part of the?? SKRIBT (German acronym for ???Protection of Critical Bridges and Tunnels on Roads???) research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
SKRIBT – what does it mean?
On March 1st, 2008 a national research project about protection of road transport infrastructure started in Germany. Under the title ???Protection of critical bridges and tunnels in the course of roads (Schutz kritischer Br??cken und Tunnel im Zuge von Stra??en SKRIBT)??? the project focuses on road bridges and road tunnels during the planned duration of 3 years. The project in the context of the programme ???Research for Civil Security??? is part of the ???High-Tech Strategy??? of the German Federal Government and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
An effective and secure road network is essential in order to guarantee mobility and supply for the whole population. Particularly bridges and tunnels are key elements of the road network. Restrictions of the availability of these infrastructures may lead to intense traffic interferences on the surrounding road network resulting in negative impacts on the road user, high economic follow-up costs and negative environmental impacts.
Web site: www.skribt.org
* Pictures of the Future is a Siemens publication
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