Garbage trucks equipped with Alvium USB cameras and Nerian SceneScan Pro

3D stereo vision system helps to identiy needed road maintenance

A research collaboration between Swinburn University of Technology (Australia) and Brimbank City Council is using an Allied Vision’s Nerian high-resolution 3D stereo vision system in conjunction with GPS sensors in a new 5G project. The 3D stereo vision system will be fitted to local garbage trucks to quickly identify road and roadside equipment in need of maintenance. The project aims to demonstrate how 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) can support smart cities in Australia. The Australian Government is funding the project with AU$ 1.18 million.

The challenge

Need to improve road conditions while saving costs 

The residents of Brimbank stated in an Community Survey that improving the appearance of Brimbank’s roads, road signs, bus stop shelters and roadside spaces is a high priority for them.

With more than 900 kilometres of road under maintenance and an estimated $15 to $20 million spent every year of maintaining and improving road and roadside assets in Brimbank alone, the Brimbank City Council is not only keen on improving the lives and safety of local residents, but also on finding solutions that help councils around Australia save millions. To add extra complexity, the garbage trucks travel across every street in the council area each week and need to transmit the data in real-time while moving at varying speeds.

The solution

Cutting-edge technology

The project will make use of Allied Vision’s high-resolution Nerian 3D system and GPS sensors, both attached to Brimbank’s waste trucks. The extensive data collected by these networked devices will be sent in real time to a cloud-based system that can create an easy-to-use map of objects in need of maintenance, such as road signs, bus stops or damaged roads.
The stereo vision depth cameras attached to the garbage trucks will collect 3D perception data at a rate of 900 megabits per second.  For comparison, average mobile download speeds in Australia in 2020 were around 43 megabits per second.
As part of the project, maintenance teams will be able to get information directly on their phones and upload proof of maintenance performed on the spot.

The benefits

Less time and costs

The use of waste trucks equipped with Allied Vision’s Nerian 3D depth system will dramatically reduce the time it takes to identify, report and fix problems, eliminating the need for costly manual reports and inspections and saving up to 50 per cent on asset testing costs. It is a quicker and more efficient way to identify which assets need maintenance, and to get the information to the work crews. Not only the time for improving the appearance of Brimbank’s roads, road signs, bus stop shelters and roadside spaces is reduced, the costs are also lower. This project is likely to lead the way for other councils considering 5G based solutions for road and roadside asset condition monitoring.

This solution will drastically reduce the time it takes to identify and fix issues.

Powerfull 3D stereo vision system

  • Nerian SceneScan Pro

Nerian SceneScan is a 3D depth perception solution which computes a 3D image of the observed environment in real-time. Using a powerful FPGA, SceneScan processes the image data from two cameras to create a depth map or 3D point cloud at a very high processing rate. SceneScan Pro has the highest possible processing power and is therefore suitable for extremely demanding applications.

  • Alvium USB3 cameras in IP67 enclosure

Equipped with the newest generation of sensors, these small and lightweight cameras deliver high image quality and frame rates at the best price-performance ratio. With its USB3 Vision compliant interface and industrial-grade hardware, it is your workhorse for different machine vision applications whether it is on a PC-based or an embedded system. They come with an industrial-grade hardware and  reeliable Micro-B USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector with screw locks. Various housing options are available (Bare Board, Open Housing, or Closed Housing) including an IP67 housing option for demanding applications.

Highlights at a glance

  • Real-time 3D information and high resolution up to 3 MP
  • High-speed image acquisition and data throughput for moving truck: 34 fps
  • Collection of 3D perception data at a rate of 900 megabits per second
  • Drastically reduced time it takes to identify and fix issues
  • Saving up to 50 per cent of asset auditing costs