Telensa, a Cambridge based technology firm, is developing a revolutionary app that can let motorists park more easily, tell local councils when and where to grit, and even light up specific roads upon request.
This forms part of a global push towards ‘smart cities’, which aims to use technology to improve the functionality of urban areas for its citizens.
One of the features will be trialled in the Russian capital, Moscow – a city that suffers from some of the worst congestion in the world. To assist with parking, the technology uses a magnetic sensor that is built into the road and detects when a car is parked over it. This data is then sent to a website that pinpoints available spaces and electronic road signs point drivers in the right direction.
Telensa are hoping to install this technology in the UK to revolutionise British streets. Not only does the app point drivers in the direction of a space, but it can also be used to detect a vehicle parking without permission in a private residents’ area, or someone who has parked in a public car park and not paid.
However, smart parking is just one of the features the company hope to bring to the UK. One of the first elements Telensa trialled in Russia was smart streetlights. Using Ultra Narrow Band technology, local authorities can control and monitor streetlights remotely. The uses for this are vast and focus on reducing costs and energy waste. For example, local councils can save energy by dimming lights at certain times, turn them on in an area if there is a call from police about criminal activity, and use fitted weather sensors to know which streets need gritting.
Already, 700,000 streetlights across Britain are fitted with Telensa technology. Launched last year for example, a project in Doncaster, is using 33,000 smart streetlights to save £1.3 million each year through decreased energy consumption.