Oxford street sweeper fitted with sensors to create 3D maps for driverless cars

A 3D street mapping project in Oxford could transform council services, Oxford City Council said last week.

The council is attaching sensors to a street cleaning vehicle in the city centre to create 3D maps that can be used to trial the development of autonomous vehicles.

It’s also hoped that the sensors could be used to collect data on road and pavement surface damage; air quality; people numbers and movement; litter and fly-tipping; parked vehicles; broken streetlights and signs; and heat loss from buildings.

The project is a collaboration between Oxford City Council and Oxford University’s Robotics Institute (ORI).

According to the council, the wealth of data available from the sensors will enable more effective planning while creating records of unreported issues such as fly-tipping for the council to act upon. The data will also be published on the Oxfordshire Open Data platform.

If the project is successful, the council may add the sensors to its fleet of vehicles across the city.

Sebastian Johnson, vice chair of the Smart Oxford Board and project manager at Oxford City Council, commented: “Working with the Oxford Robotics Institute we are exploring how the City Council’s fleet of street cleaners and refuse collection vehicles can be fitted with sensors, developed by the ORI, to map the city.

“At the same time we are looking to gather information and data that can help us improve the way we run the city as an efficient and effective council. Our open data platform will also allow innovators to explore and use the data to create new ideas and applications.

“Oxford is the home to world-leading mobile autonomy and robotics research and development, and the City Council and our wider partners on the Smart Oxford Board are keen to support innovation and research to benefit those living in the city.”

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