Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform with Bluetooth Sensors over ZigBee

UPDATE: Libelium has launched a new platform to detect any Smartphone (iPhone / Android) in a certain area by detecting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth frames without the need of being connected to an AP. Read more in this article: Detecting iPhone and Android Smartphones by Wifi and Bluetooth.

The Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform from Libelium allows system integrators to create real time systems for monitoring vehicular and pedestrian traffic in cities by using the new Bluetooth – ZigBee double radio feature available in the Waspmote sensor board.

The new Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform, part of the Libelium Smart Cities solution. The platform is capable of sensing the flow of Bluetooth devices in a given street, roadway or passageway differentiating hands-free car kits from pedestrian phones. Sensor data is then transferred by a multi-hop ZigBee radio, via an internet gateway, to a server. The traffic measurements can then be analysed to address congestion of either vehicle or pedestrian traffic.

Understanding the flow and congestion of vehicular traffic is essential for efficient road systems in cities. Smooth vehicle flows reduce journey times, reduce emissions and save energy. Similarly the efficient flow of pedestrians in an airport, stadium or shopping centre saves time and can make the difference between a good and a bad visit. Monitoring traffic – whether road vehicles or people – is useful for operators of roads, attractions and transport hubs.

The monitoring system can also be used to calculate the average speed of the vehicles which transit over a roadway by taking the time mark at two different points.

Libelium’s Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform enables system integrators to create intelligent monitoring systems for the urban environment. Libelium’s CTO David Gascón says, “With widespread use of Bluetooth devices both vehicular and pedestrian traffic can be monitored anonymously by detecting and tracking the MAC addresses of such devices”. He adds, “The platform can help drivers can avoid congested roads through provision of real time warnings on electronic displays or via smartphone applications”. Similarly, pedestrian monitoring enables improvements to be made in the operation of airports, shopping centres, tourist attractions and sports stadiums. Such data can even be used to assess the suitability of emergency evacuation plans.

The Platform uses the new Expansion Radio Board for Waspmote which allows two different types of radio to be connected at the same time. In this case a Bluetooth radio is used as a sensor to make inquiries and detect nearby devices, while the ZigBee radio sends the information collected using its multi-hop capabilities.

The new Bluetooth radio allows to scan up to 250 devices in a single inquiry and set six different power levels allowing sensor operators to set an “inquiry zone” from between 10 and 50 metres. Although Bluetooth, ZigBee and WiFi all operate in the 2.4 GHz ISM band, Waspmote uses Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) to enable the Bluetooth radio to identify channels already in use by ZigBee and WiFi devices and thus avoid interference.

Libelium provides complete support services to system integrators developing and deploying the Vehicle Traffic Monitoring Platform. Contact us and one of our engineers will give you further information abour all the possibilities of this technology.

For a complete intelligent traffic management system read about our Smart Parking solution which uses magetic sensors and ZigBee radios to monitor in real time the amount of free parking spots.

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