brimbank

Brimbank City Council has collaborated with Melbourne’s Swinburne University of Technology, to create a network of 5G connected garbage trucks that utilise the Internet of Things (IoT).

The collaboration hopes to make repairing local roads easier, faster, and more affordable.

The project will see high-resolution cameras and GPS sensors attached to Brimbank’s waste trucks.

The rich data captured from these connected devices will be sent in real-time to a cloud-based system that can create an easy-to-use map of assets that require maintenance – such as road signs, bus shelters or damaged roads.

This will drastically reduce the time it takes to identify, document and fix issues, removing the need for costly manual reporting and auditing, and saving up to 50 per cent of asset auditing costs.

Supported by $1.18 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Australian 5G Innovation Initiative and Optus, the project will also help demonstrate how 5G can reliably support the needs of smart cities around Australia.

The vision and depth cameras attached to the garbage trucks will collect 3D perception data at a rate of 900 MB per second. 

For comparison, average mobile download speeds in Australia in 2020 were around 43 MB per second.

The garbage trucks travel across every street in the council area each week and will transmit the data in real-time while moving at varying speeds.

The environment will be perfect for testing the capabilities of the super-fast 5G network, while also helping maintenance teams work more effectively.

Maintenance teams will be able to get information directly on their phones and upload proof of maintenance performed on the spot.

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, it is hoped that the project will not only improve the lives and safety of local residents, but also help councils around Australia save millions.

Brimbank City Council Mayor Cr Jasmine Nguyen, said,

“Residents have told us via the Community Survey that improving the appearance of Brimbank’s roads, road signs, bus stop shelters and roadside spaces is a high priority.

“This innovative 5G-based project offers us a quicker and more efficient way to identify which assets need maintenance, and to get the information to the work crews. Simply put, this project will help Council respond faster to assets that need maintenance.

“Our project will also lead the way for other councils considering 5G based solutions for road and roadside asset condition monitoring.”

Director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future and Digital Innovation Lab, Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman, said the project presents unique challenges that 5G and IoT technology can help solve.

“We are delighted to be working with the forward-thinking Brimbank Council, and utilising Swinburne’s leading capabilities and world-renowned expertise in Internet of Things and digital innovation, to demonstrate a solution that can be used in cities across Australia and around the world,” Mr Jayaraman said.

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Images courtesy of Brimbank Council

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