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Brimbank City Council starts connecting garbage trucks to 5G network

Council Goes IoT for asset management.

Brimbank City Council garbage trucks will take on a new role over the next six months to a year, automatically mapping damage to roads and other assets.

The trucks will carry GPS sensors and high-resolution depth video cameras, and will use 5G to transmit images to an AWS-based system where they can be documented and assigned to a maintenance team.

The pilot project is supported by a$1.18 million federal government grant as part of Australia’s 5G Innovation Initiative. The program was created to help small and large companies test and develop 5G applications, applications, services and products.

The 5G Internet of Things (IoT) mobile solution for data-driven road maintenance at Project Brimbank is provided in a joint partnership with Swinburne University and Optus.

The project will automate the monitoring and auditing of asset condition, reducing the time (up to one week) to identify and document all of Brimbank’s road and road assets requiring maintenance and provide real-time information to maintenance teams.

The 5G-based camera or laser technology will be installed on Council’s garbage trucks as a way to collect data on Brimbank’s streets and sidewalks as the trucks travel through the municipality providing waste disposal services.

The automated process will transform the current time-based maintenance approach to a reactive one – it will help speed up data collection and asset maintenance, as well as reduce asset audit costs by more than 50%.

Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman said the first application for the project will be to identify and report, in real-time, when someone’s dropped a pile of hard rubbish without permission.

From there, the system expands to photograph other damaged objects such as roads, signs, bus stops, and the like.

Management of this type of asset is currently very manual: someone takes a car, drives around and files reports.

Brimbank City Council hopes that automating the process will halve the cost of asset testing.

“Brimbank Council has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement that Brimbank will receive funding to implement a high tech automated mobile 5G solution to gather data on the condition of the municipality’s roads and footpaths said,” Brimbank Mayor Cr Jasmine Nguyen.

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.

In addition to sending data to the unnamed cloud service via Optus 5G connections, garbage trucks collect highly detailed data on network coverage and performance as they cover every street in the local government area, often at slow speeds.

Jayaraman said the network allows uploads at up to 900Mbps.

While garbage trucks are fitted with video cameras today, they’re not uploading in real-time – “Someone has to go and fetch the video”, he said, and that means a delay of up to 48 hours in getting information into the council’s systems and acted on.

Brimbank’s mayor, councillor Jasmine Nguyen, said the project “will help council respond faster to assets that need maintenance.”

The City of Greater Bendigo previously used garbage trucks to test the signal quality of an IoT network it was establishing.

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

Matthew Giannelis
Matthew Giannelis
Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

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