Fiber Optic Based Technology Can Provide Cities with Real-Time Positional Insights About Their Road and Public Transport Infrastructure.
To fully realize the potential of transport monitoring in modern connected cities in an economically viable manner and in a reasonable timescale, a solution must be found that incorporates and builds on the infrastructure already in place. Distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technology is one such solution. DAS is a photonic sensing technology that essentially ‘plugs in’ to existing fiber optic cable networks and transforms them into sophisticated acoustic sensors. All traffic activity produces large amounts of acoustic or seismic energy as it passes over roads. Crucially, certain activities and incidents produce unique acoustic signatures - with detectable differences between vehicle types for instance. DAS recognizes these events, helping to separate the signal from the noise when it comes to smart city data. This gives city authorities a real-time overview of the whole road network and enables them to track road traffic and public transport infrastructure - determining the speed and density of traffic, locating congestion, and detecting traffic disruption events such as road accidents.
DAS operates with standard telecommunications-grade optical fibers. These optical fibers can be installed as an asset is being built or retrospectively on existing telecommunications infrastructure, such as the ubiquitous fiber networks in cities. DAS uses optical fibers as the ‘sensor;” the DAS itself being the interrogator of the returning backscatter signal. By using DAS, you gain a ‘sensor’ that is immune to EM or RF interface – it’s also inert and requires no power along the entire length beyond the DAS interrogator
The Fiber Optic Future
GeoConnexion International Magazine March/April 2020 p.28
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