DURBAN – In rising to the challenge of rapidly evolving Smart Road Technologies and global innovation, SANRAL has established the Technical Innovation Hub (TIH) which is driven from the Western Region Office in Cape Town.
Although not a physical space, the TIH can be likened to a think tank of young intellectuals, mentored by senior professional engineers, and inspired by the possibilities that exist when technology is harnessed to improve lives and promote progressive development in transport.
Smart technology and the road user can no longer be separate concepts. The road user harnesses smart technology on their devices, in their vehicles, in their offices and homes. It, therefore, stands to reason that this technology should be integrated into the travel experience during our everyday commutes. This is ultimately where the world is headed and South Africa should be no different.
Introducing the TIH to industry creates a platform for graduate engineers to showcase some of the innovation-focused pilot projects that are in the development phase at the TIH. The projects include the use of a robotic flagger at road construction sites, intelligent road studs to provide additional guidance to the road user and the planned use of 3D road markings. Other presentations include:
1. Video analytics for vehicle inspection and pedestrian detection
2. Drones for engineering applications
3. Floating car data
4. Road sensors
5. Electrical and automated vehicles
6. Alternative materials, i.e. nanotechnologies
7. Augmented / virtual reality