What a WASTE of a Smart Opportunity

The Light Review has been highlighting the importance of bringing plastics back into the productive materials feedstock stream rather than seeing it be lost to landfill or environmental pollution. It raises the issue of how we collect our used plastics. The answer is Smart Waste Management.

90% of the world’s waste is collected at the wrong time, collected too late and overflowing containers lead to illegal dumping, which in turn leads to additional cleaning and collection costs. Collected too early and the containers are empty at the time of pickup wasting time, resources and money and adding to excess air pollution, CO2 and traffic congestion.

SmartWaste management is revolutionizing an industry facing a worldwide struggle to reduce costs while keeping our cities cleaner. An increasing number of people around the globe are realizing that the status quo is no longer acceptable and that the best solution is to develop and maintain smart waste management. Regardless of whether you represent a whole city, an organization, or a waste operator, the benefits from focusing on smart waste management are undeniable.

The key benefit of a smart waste management solution is cost savings through improved route optimization, resource handling and monitoring. The increase in efficiency will not only save money, but also improve overall workflow, as well as reducing carbon footprint.

A number of cities have implemented these solutions and from our own studies we have been able to demonstrate an 80% decrease in overflowing containers, a 66% decrease in street cleaning service requests and a 64% decrease in illegal dumping.

There are a number of suppliers out there using different communication platforms for backhaul, indeed NBIoT or LoRaWAN would make ideal choices for this type of application, but what most sensors have in common are the detection technologies, most utilising some form of ultrasonic sensor.

Unlike ultrasonic sensors, which are unable to measure any object in the first 25-30cm, our optical sensor is equipped with a 256-pixel resolution that enables it to produce 3D depth maps of a bin’s content. This dramatically increases the accuracy of the sensor as it provides multiple reference points, rendering false positives a thing of the past.

The technology we use is called a 3D Time of Flight (3D ToF) and is a type of scannerless LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor. A ToF camera sensor uses infrared light (lasers invisible to human eyes) to determine depth information – a bit like how a bat senses it surroundings. The sensor emits a light signal, which hits the subject and returns to the sensor. The time it takes to bounce back is then measured and provides depth-mapping capabilities. This provides a huge advantage over other technologies, as it can accurately measure distances in a complete scene with a single laser pulse.

A ToF camera sensor can be used to measure distance and volume, as well as for object scanning, indoor navigation, obstacle avoidance, gesture recognition, object tracking, and reactive altimeters. Data from the sensor can also help with 3D imaging and improving Augmented Reality (AR) experiences. ToF technology isn’t very new, as various companies have been experimenting with it for at least the past decade. Microsoft, for instance, used ToF cameras in its second-generation of Kinect devices. Lidar, which is popular in self-driving cars, also commonly features ToF sensors.

If you want to know more then follow this link to view the products available to help with your SmartWasteManagment

About Mark Cooper

Mark is a past President of the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP), the UK professional membership organisation for lighting. Mark has held other roles within the ILP, he serves on the Editorial Board for the Lighting Journal and has previously been Senior Vice President and Vice President for Membership.

He has over 27 years of experience within the lighting industry, working in a number of roles from local authority lighting engineer, through Sales and Product Management and as a Divisional Director for Jacobs Engineering Inc before moving back to a manufacturer.

Mark was National Sales Manager for iGuzzini, responsible all outdoor lighting sales within the public realm, and promoting their new road and street lighting ranges, then moved to DW Windsor Ltd as their Technical Manager and developed a number of product ranges and sensors for both DW and their sister company Urban Control

Mark recently started his own consultancy business specialising in advice for Local Government and Manufactures in the emerging market of Smart Cities and IoT an area he has worked in alongside lighting for nearly 15 years. He has presented a number of seminars at National events Mark has been key in selecting, developing and deploying a number of large scale CMS projects in the UK during his career and written many articles for the UK trade press about this subject.

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