According to the United Nations, 68% of the world population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050. This means that cities will have to become increasingly efficient, connected and safer, to meet the needs of these citizens. Smarter infrastructure, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things (IoT) will play a key role in reducing emissions, increasing safety and improving the overall wellbeing of city dwellers. The latest ERTICO Academy webinar discussed the potential of these technologies together with experts from Horiba Mira, TNO and Strawberry Energy.

Increasing urbanisation requires the re-organisation of our urban spaces and the adaption of existing infrastructure to new use. IoT technologies bring many innovative solutions allowing citizens to experience public spaces in an entirely different way.

“Our goal is to help create smarter cities with a focus on public spaces, to make them more responsible, useful and beneficial to our needs in the 21st century”, said Milos Milisavljevic, Founder & CEO, Strawberry Energy.

Thanks to IoT, a bench is no longer just a bench, and a street light is no longer just a street light. For instance, thanks to smart lighting, light poles switch on and off as people pass by, therefore saving energy. Benches become Wi-Fi spots, solar-energy charging stations for electronic devices and stations that measure air quality and share data on real traffic conditions.  The bench can also be mobility driven, providing information on parking spaces. “Thanks to sensors installed on the bench, the user can receive on his/her mobile phone information about the closest parking space, saving time and lowering emissions”, said Mr. Milisavljevic.

Urbanisation, the use of public spaces, traffic and air quality are complex design decisions, requiring the involvement of citizens in order to best apply the most fitting IoT technologies. For this purpose, data can be a powerful tool to simulate certain conditions in a smart city before they are applied, as explained by Jeroen Borst, Program Manager Digitalization at TNO.

“To get a grip on certain complex situations in a city’s urban strategy, we need to bring data together with fast simulation models. This way, we can create a Digital Twin: we can close the roads, change the infrastructure and simulate all kinds of different conditions to then calculate the impact on noise, accessibility, etc.”, he said.

It is also important to modify certain behaviours that might have an impact on the Smart City’s environment and to encourage the acceptance of certain ground-breaking technologies by all stakeholders, as explained by Rob Capaldi, Commercial Manager at Horiba Mira: “The industry is working hard to make transport safer and cleaner, and governments are investing heavily in research into Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) solutions. CAM will make journeys more efficient for consumers, enhance safety and improve the impact of transport on the environment. However, we still face a multisector challenge to deliver CAM in cities: to enable the use of these technologies, it is essential that all interested parties are involved in overcoming the challenges; infrastructure providers, representatives from the automotive industry, legislators and above all the providers of these services must ensure that consumers are confident to use the services by demonstrating the safety of the systems.”, he said.

“Making cities more connected requires all parties to be involved to be able to work on a common strategy. This is where ERTICO comes in.” said ERTICO Senior Manager and CAD expert Vladimir Vorotovic.

The ERTICO Academy webinar on IoT and smart cities proved that cross-sectoral collaboration is needed to push forward technologies and solutions that will improve the wellbeing of all. To find out more about ERTICO’s work on CAD activities, please contact Vladimir Vorotovic. To learn more about the ERTICO Partnership and how you can benefit from teaming up with ERTICO, please contact Cordelia Wilson.

Watch the full session below. Registrations for the next webinar on “Climate actions towards the decarbonisation of transport – industry views”, are open here.