How IoT Is Keeping Traffic Under Control

May 16, 2018 - 4 minutes read

It’s inevitable that the Internet of Things (IoT) will become an integral part of infrastructure management. It’s not so much a question of “if” as it is a question of “when.” Another query currently unanswered is who will lead this initiative and establish themselves as the authority in the field.

Yotta is a technology company that provides insights on infrastructure and traffic through data analysis. Manish Jethwa, the company’s chief product and technology officer, recently sat down with ZDNet to discuss the development of IoT for traffic management and how Yotta is bringing the future to us today.

Trying to Simplify Transportation

Headquartered in Leamington Spa, 2 hours Northwest of London, Yotta takes a pragmatic approach to helping local authorities understand their surroundings better. After surveying an environment, they take the data and run it through strenuous analysis.

As Jethwa puts it, “We gather information mainly from manual surveys and we build our own vehicles that go around surveying highways, essentially taking laser measurements of every millimeter across the carriageway of the roads and building up very detailed models of the condition of the road network.”

The company has been in business for 25 years. Naturally, it expanded from just data acquisition to the analysis part, too. This has allowed its clients to not only make better decisions when it comes to budgets and strategies but also gain key insights into specific problems that would otherwise go unsolved.

It All Comes Down to Data Acquisition

Jethwa emphasizes that the quality of the data is just as important as the quantity: “… in terms of the height and the texture of the roads, you can get it down to nanometers on the road’s surface.” Of course, this ability comes at a hefty cost — a single service vehicle can cost around half a million dollars due to the variety of technologies it comes equipped with.

Yotta has also began expanding into other assets in recent years, like streetlights. To build a detailed, accurate perspective of an environment, the more IoT sensors there are, the better. This doesn’t always mean incorporating sensors into new installments, however.

Jethwa explains the need for sensors in older infrastructure: “It’s important that we also embed the sensors into assets that are coming near to the end of their life because it’s really those bits of infrastructure that are going through the latter part of their lifecycle that are going to be falling below the service levels that we are interested in.”

Efficiency Is the Name of the Game

While Yotta’s work has already saved many local jurisdictions and other clients vast amounts of money, Jethwa hints that the company is intensely focused on optimizing the cost of assets to boost savings even more. “All of the assets are being put under greater and greater strain from weather, increasing population, increasing traffic and so on,” says Jethwa. “It’s all about trying to make better use of the assets and then, at the same time, reducing the cost.”

There are many startups and companies vying for a top spot in the IoT traffic management market. But right now, Yotta is leading the way in keeping the roads clear.

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