University of Birmingham Innovator Wins Challenge
Birmingham, UK — An infrared road surface temperature sensor developed at the University of Birmingham, which provides real-time data on road surface conditions, is set for rapid adoption on the UK’s road and motorway network following a national award at the Highways UK 2017 Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge.
Lee Chapman, Professor of Climate Resilience at the University won the national award for a low-cost, non-invasive and self-contained road surface temperature sensor which remotely senses road surface temperature using infrared themometry.
The Wintersense sensors are Internet of Things enabled, and use a new generation of low power communications to provide a real-time measurement of road surface temperature, that will be used to direct gritting lorries to priority areas.
The judging panel included representatives from Highways England, Transport Scotland, England’s Economic Heartland and Transport for the North (TfN). The judges felt that deploying this type of sensor network could have an immediate impact on their ability to better control gritting routines in winter.
Throughout the winter months, highways maintenance companies dispatch fleets of gritting lorries to prevent or mitigate the impact of black ice formation on motorways and A roads. In harsh winters, the routing of gritting lorries has to be prioritised to ensure optimal road safety.
The University of Birmingham is an institution that has a long history of research into winter road sensing and forecasting.
Lee Chapman commented: “The key issue in this prioritisation is having good spatial resolution on observation of road surface conditions. Our sensors are an order of magnitude cheaper than existing solutions, and light enough to be mounted on any lamp post, gantry or road sign, which means a dense network of sensors can be rapidly deployed along a road network to provide a highly granular picture of road surface conditions.”
The Wintersense sensors are part of a portfolio of products that provide decision-making tools to empower transport managers in the road maintenance and rail industries.
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Ruth Ashton, Reputation & Communications Development Manager, University of Birmingham Enterprise, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tel 0121 414 9090 (out of hours 07989 558041).
About Highways UK
Highways UK is a major event that brings together the people and organisations involved in the planning, designing, building, operating and future-proofing of the UK’s road networks. With ten content streams running in parallel, it is not a trade show, but is positioned to attract and capture strategic planning and thought leadership at the leading edge of UK road infrastructure development.
About the University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/index.aspx
About University of Birmingham Enterprise
University of Birmingham Enterprise supports academics who want to innovate, take their ideas to market, work with businesses and social enterprises, or enrich their professional lives by doing academic consultancy projects. We do this by providing enterprise training, funding, office and laboratory space, and a full technology transfer service. Follow us on Twitter @UoBAccelerate.
Wintersense provides an Internet of Things approach to sensing road surface temperatures. It is available through Altasense, which develops sensors that are Wi-Fi enabled (to leverage existing communication networks), low-cost (enabling dense networks to be deployed) and self-contained and battery powered for simple, quick deployment.
More information is available at www.wintersense.com.