Renesas brightens Silicon Valley parking lot

  • January 7, 2020
  • imc

Japanese company Renesas is bringing intelligence to a parking lot in the city of Campbell in California through its local subsidiary Integrated Device Technology (IDT).
Campbell is a city of 42,000 in the heart of Silicon Valley. It has tasked IDT with the job of making one of its parking lots intelligent as part of its efforts to be environmentally friendly, reduce light pollution and make the lights more interactive for the city’s residents. 
The effort began in summer with four overhead lights in the City Hall’s employee parking lot and will soon expand to six additional overhead lights in the adjacent fenced Police Department parking lot. The project involved replacing the outdated sodium vapour bulbs with lamps comprised of much more energy-efficient and dimmable LEDs and topping the lights with weather-proof 6LoWPan wireless mesh network modules.
These modules provide connectivity to Campbell’s IT cloud infrastructure, giving the city’s IT staff complete control of the lights and enabling staff to monitor their operations continuously.
In addition to reducing the city’s energy usage, Campbell is actively considering using intelligent lighting in the City Hall parking lot. Locals have reportedly used the lot for private party transactions since the emergence of eBay, Craigslist and other similar web sites that allow private parties to advertise, buy or sell merchandise. Smart lighting provides illumination so this type of transaction can take place at night or in the early morning hours.
“The city of Campbell is the latest Silicon Valley city to recognise the numerous advantages of intelligent lighting, but they won’t be the last,” said Rudi Hechfellner, director of sensing technology at IDT. “There are literally millions of lights around the world that can be quickly and easily converted into intelligent lighting at a low cost, while also providing far more energy efficiency with more advanced capabilities. Our comprehensive lines of sensor, wireless networking, power and timing devices make IDT an ideal source when developing intelligent lighting, smart city, and other IoT-related applications.”
Based on this experience, the city is considering giving more intelligent lights additional capabilities, such as automatically turning on when people approach the area. This would be accomplished by the lights using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to discriminate between people, animals and vehicles – even in low light conditions – rather than relying on the cloud.
This approach ensures that lights provide illumination immediately rather than experiencing a delay, as data are first transmitted to the cloud for processing, and an activation signal is eventually sent. Also, multiple lights could communicate with each other in the areas, so each illuminates and dims precisely to ensure a pedestrian is always well lit while walking.
Such intelligence is an advance over simple motion sensors, enabling lights to provide continuous illumination for people even when they are not moving, such as sitting at a bus stop, for example.
IDT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics, develops system-level products that optimise applications. These include RF, timing, memory interface, real-time interconnect, optical interconnect, wireless power and smart sensors. Headquartered in San Jose, California, IDT has design, manufacturing, sales facilities and distribution partners throughout the world.
• IDT is conducting two intelligent street lighting projects in Malaysia. Inspired by a demonstration of the intelligent lighting system in IDT’s Malaysian office, the Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (CREST), an industry-led organisation focused on advancing the electronics industry, initiated a proof of concept collaborative project with IDT to conduct these trials to validate the advantages of intelligent street lighting. These advantages included reduced energy consumption, supporting smart city applications and making lights more interactive for residents.