5G sensors will monitor movements around Kelowna's downtown

Kelowna hosts 5G pilot

New 5G technology designed to anonymously track the movement of people, and vehicles, will be installed in Kelowna next week.

It's part of a "smart city" pilot project partnership between Rogers Communications, the City of Kelowna and UBC.

Two light sensors, powered by the Rogers 5G network, will be installed at two downtown intersections next week, one at Bernard and Water Street, the other at Bernard and Pandosy Street. Three others will be installed later in the year.

The sensors, according to a city news release, will be connected to the internet, to help improve "management of resources and assets such as garbage collection, parking spaces and traffic systems."

The company says the resolution is insufficient to capture or reveal identifying details about people or permit facial recognition.

In March. several UBC students were part of a "virtual hackathon," designed to explore how technology could help the city find ways to improve how people move around downtown, and to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety.

One of the winning ideas from the hackathon is being implemented as a pilot project in downtown Kelowna.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Kelowna to build on the work we’re doing to bring smart city technologies to our city,” said Mayor Colin Basran.

“Transportation has always been a top concern for our citizens and one of council’s priorities. As we grow, we need to better understand what these travel interactions look like and how can we ensure the safe management of everyone using our streets, curbsides, sidewalks and pathways.

"The hackathon and this pilot project are great ways to discover solutions developed by smart young minds.” 

The pilot project is part of research being done by UBC, in partnership with Rogers, to study 5G applications, and develop smarter, and safer cities.

“Until now, detailed information about the way cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles move and behave in urban environments has been surprisingly difficult to collect and, importantly, share in real time,” said Professor David Michelson, lead researcher on the project and director of the AURORA connected vehicle test bed at UBC Vancouver.

“This is as close to a perfect academic, public sector and private enterprise partnership as one can imagine. None of us could have done this on our own.”

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