Sensors that could cut millions from road-gritting costs and help local authorities be better prepared for the winter months are being developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham.
The new internet-connected, temperature sensors have already been successfully trialled in Birmingham, London and elsewhere across the country.
Fitted to lampposts, for example, the devices collect and transmit a non-stop stream of data on road-surface temperatures that local authorities, highways agencies and other organisations can use to target precisely where gritting is needed – and where it isn’t.
The sensors have been developed by meteorologists at University of Birmingham in conjunction with Amey plc, an Oxford-based engineering consultancy. They are inspired by the Internet of Things by utilising increasingly pervasive WiFi networks to transmit a single number indicating the local road surface temperature every ten minutes. No cabling is necessary, deployment is rapid and the sensor boxes are fitted unobtrusively near ground level on the street side of the lamppost or whatever else they are attached to.
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