Heads Up, Down Under: Sydney Suburb Enhances Livability with Traffic Analytics
With a new university campus nearby and an airport under construction, the city of Liverpool, Australia, 27 kilometers southwest of Sydney, is growing fast.
More than 30,000 people are expected to make a daily commute to its central business district. Liverpool needed to know the possible impact to traffic flow and movement of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
The city already hosts closed-circuit televisions to monitor safety and security. Each CCTV captures lots of video and data that, due to stringent privacy regulations, is mainly combed through after an incident has been reported.
The challenge before the city was to turn this massive dataset into information that could help it run more efficiently, handle an influx of commuters and keep the place liveable for residents — without compromising anyone’s privacy.
To achieve this goal, the city has partnered with the Digital Living Lab of the University of Wollongong. Part of Wollongong’s SMART Infrastructure Facility, the DLL has developed what it calls the Versatile Intelligent Video Analytics platform. VIVA, for short, unlocks data so that owners of CCTV networks can access real-time, privacy-compliant data to make better informed decisions.
VIVA is designed to convert existing infrastructure into edge-computing devices embedded with the latest AI. The platform’s state-of-the-art deep learning algorithms are developed at DLL on the NVIDIA Metropolis platform . Their video analytics deep-learning models are trained using transfer learning to adapt to use cases, optimized via NVIDIA TensorRT software and deployed on NVIDIA Jetson edge AI computers .
“We designed VIVA to process video feeds as close as possible to the source, which is the camera,” said Johan Barthelemy, lecturer at the SMART Infrastructure Facility of the University of Wollongong. “Once a frame has been analyzed using a deep neural network, the outcome is transmitted and the current frame is discarded.”
Disposing of frames maintains privacy as no images are transmitted. It also reduces the bandwidth needed.
Beyond city streets like in Liverpool, VIVA has been adapted for a wide variety of applications, such as identifying and tracking wildlife; detecting culvert blockage for stormwater management and flash flood early warnings; and tracking of people using thermal cameras to understand people’s mobility behavior during heat waves. It can also distinguish between firefighters searching a building and other building occupants, helping identify those who may need help to evacuate.
Making Sense of Traffic Patterns
The research collaboration between SMART, Liverpool’s city council and its industry partners is intended to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and accessibility of a range of government services and facilities.
For pedestrians, the project aims to understand where they’re going, their preferred routes and...