It was originally intended for visual quality control in the production and logistics of the Volkswagen Group plants. Then, the specialists of the Smart.Production: Lab of Wolfsburg realized that its ability to recognize and process images could be used to analyze traffic flows in the city, to be used to improve the public transport service, speed up interventions. in case of emergency situations and even design the charging network for electric cars.
From the factory to the road. Like other manufacturers, the Wolfsburg-based group has begun to develop the software it needs in-house to make its factories run smoothly. The Volkswagen vision workbench (VW2) “Invented” by Smart.Production: Lab was created to allow rapid verification of materials and related labels. In Carmel, an Indiana town, however, the software is linked to the public cameras that monitor its streets – so far only for security reasons – to create a large database. An enormous amount of data that is then analyzed by artificial intelligence with the ultimate goal of optimizing the urban infrastructure.
Knowing to plan. The data collected by VW2 relating to the number of cars, two-wheelers and pedestrians transiting on a given road allow the administration to identify, for example, the places where it is necessary to offer more parking possibilities, or to increase bus passages and still divert traffic in the peak hours. To allow the algorithm to operate in an urban context, where anything can happen, the Smart.Production: Lab specialists had to teach it to recognize even wild animals (which, among other things, allows it to communicate to connected vehicles any sightings).
Guaranteed privacy. Among the changes that the Volkswagen developers have had to implement, there are also those necessary to treat data anonymously. Traffic movements are displayed in aggregate form, using graphs and maps. In addition, people’s faces are automatically pixelated, as are vehicle license plates.
Help in emergencies. This mass of information, updated every 10 seconds, will be used by the Carmel municipality not only for infrastructure design, but also to facilitate the work of law enforcement and rescue forces in critical situations, such as major events or emergencies. public. The next step is to install the technology on more streets to create a traffic model for the city.
Why Carmel. The Indiana town, which has about 100,000 inhabitants, was chosen for its climate and its “propensity for innovation”. Here, in fact, the most diverse weather conditions alternate. The cameras must prove that they work even in frost, fog or snow. In 1924, Carmel was the first conurbation in the US to have electric traffic lights. And today it has the largest number of roundabouts in the entire United States.
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