image credit: Tom Walker
Fairford Leys in Aylesbury is a quiet private housing community that lives in England’s Buckinghamshire County. It features a few restaurants, an award-winning hair salon and a nice swimming pool. It will also soon become a testbed for road tech.
The Buckinghamshire County Council has recently granted the community £4.5 million pounds to install smart technology on its roads. Fairford Leys will feature things like smart lamp posts, energy generating surfaces, and smart road sensors.
Buckinghamshire is one of eight counties in England to win funding to trial ‘smart’ technology. The project is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places Live Labs Program in which the aim to experiment with these technologies in the real world rather than a lab.
Smart Lampposts, Energy Generating Surfaces, and Road Sensors
The smart lampposts will include sensors that will collect data. They will also be able to support solar panels and wind turbines. Road surfacing will feature material that will be able to generate energy from moving vehicles. Sensors on the sides of the road will be to collect real-time data about traffic and weather. They will also help guide driverless vehicles as they navigate through the community.
“It’s exciting that Buckinghamshire is in the vanguard, trialing as-yet untested technology that could become part of normal life in future housing estates. These Live Lab experiments are ‘proof of concepts’ – testing conceptual technology in real-world conditions – and will enable us to demonstrate a whole range of world ‘firsts’,” said a city council team member.
Smart Road Technology Project to Also Study Driverless Cars
As far as driverless cars go, a study on their feasibility and how they’d work in harmony with this smart road technology will be conducted in the community. Researchers will also look into how electric bikes could help reduce the number of commuters’ cars on rush-hour roads.
The county is hopeful that the new transport technologies will prove to be environmentally friendly, reduce costs, generate revenue and make a real impact on traffic congestion. Fairford Leys could eventually become a template for building smart tech into future developments.
“ADEPT’s Live Labs program is demonstrating a pro-active approach in tackling the challenges of today within the context of the rapid changes we are seeing in the transport sector. The insights and learning from Buckinghamshire and the other seven Live Labs, as they develop over the next two years, will be invaluable for local authorities and industry right across the UK and beyond,” said Giles Perkins, Program Director for the ADEPT Live Labs initiative.