Situated alongside the Chattahoochee River at the southwest corner of Gwinnett County 20 miles outside of Atlanta is Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a vibrant municipality that is home to more than 45,000 residents and an innovation hub that houses some of the world’s most disruptive technology companies. In Peachtree Corners, the economic development corridor is in the center of the city in an area known as Technology Park (Tech Park). Since its inception, Tech Park has grown to over 500 acres and supports over 10,000 employees and 4,000 residents.
Within Tech Park, the City of Peachtree Corners implemented an economic development initiative that has since become one of the leading smart city ecosystems in the nation – Curiosity Lab. This 5G-powered living laboratory enables companies to deploy and prove developing technologies in a real-world testing environment. Curiosity Lab acts as the ‘walk’ in ‘crawl, walk, run’ of technology development, with ‘crawl’ being a controlled testing space and ‘run’ being full-scale deployment.
Curiosity Lab provides an environment with a public roadway filled with real pedestrians, vehicles and more each day for startups to established companies to continue to improve and develop their technologies based on how they perform in a real environment. Solutions deployed at Curiosity Lab include everything from the next generation of intelligent mobility, smart city solutions, IoT, C-V2X, drone delivery and more. Peachtree Corners and Curiosity Lab have been both nationally and internationally recognized for creating the smart city blueprint through public-private partnerships for cities across the United States.
Video-as-a-sensor technology for safer roadways
As part of a strategic collaboration with Peachtree Corners, Bosch is demonstrating its video-as-a-sensor technology in various deployments throughout the city. These deployments include Bosch fixed and moving cameras for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) installed on Peachtree Corners’ 5G-connected city street of the future – a three-mile track and test lane for automated vehicles, smart city infrastructure, and the latest in C-V2X technology - all completely connected to the public street that handles more than 14,000 cars daily. The cameras count and classify vehicles as cars, buses and trucks to help the city capture data on roadway usage and traffic patterns.
Data is displayed on dashboards within the Curiosity Lab’s IoT Control Room, one of the only rooms of its kind in the country showing live video streams from cameras deployed throughout Peachtree Corners’ smart city ecosystem. This data is used to help City Managers see how drivers are moving through the corridor and to identify if certain areas need to be remodeled for additional roadway safety and efficiency.
Improving vulnerable road user safety
With the city’s population growing at a steady rate, Peachtree Corners began developing a newly expanded trail system designed for residents to walk, bike and run. City Managers wanted to ensure there were systems in place to improve vulnerable road user (VRU) safety and came to Bosch to leverage object detection cameras in harmony with Commsignia’s C-V2X solutions. As a pair, Bosch’s object detection cameras and Commsignia’s C-V2X solutions work together to address the safety of both the pedestrian and the driver.
Broadcasting safety messages to connected vehicles
This trail system crosses at two intersections along Curiosity Lab’s city street of the future, and at these intersections are Bosch cameras for ITS detection and pedestrian count. The cameras feature deep neural network-based video analytics software that accurately detects and distinguishes VRUs and vehicles, even in congested scenes or dense traffic. When the cameras detect VRUs in the crosswalk, they trigger a Roadside Controller from MH Corbin to create CV2X personal safety messages that are broadcast to connected vehicles. This VRU alert is sent to vehicles 150 yards before the vehicle even enters the intersection, protecting the VRU and giving the driver plenty of time to react accordingly.
By accessing the data, the city is able to track the volume of VRUs and the number of vehicles alerted at specific intersections, allowing the city to make roadway development decisions to improve VRU safety.
Since this project was launched, the solution has identified and sent C-V2X messages for over 2,143 pedestrians entering the crosswalks, preventing thousands of wrecks, and saving thousands of lives.
“VRU and driver safety are two major priorities for the city,” said City of Peachtree Corners Assistant City Manager and CTO and Curiosity Lab Executive Director Brandon Branham. “As our city continues to grow rapidly, we want to ensure we have systems in place to protect VRUs at intersections, and especially in areas where there may not be the best driver visibility. This includes crosswalks close to major inclines and declines, sharp turns and more. Bosch’s solution has allowed us to not only identify an approximate number of pedestrians using our new trail at these intersections but to also give drivers enough time to react accordingly to prevent VRU injury or fatality. As Bosch continues to develop these solutions, we are looking forward to expanding the areas of use across the city.”
City surveillance for the Town Center
Peachtree Corners Town Center acts as the hub for shopping, dining, and special events with 15 restaurants, retail shops, office space, and townhomes for residents and visitors. This area includes the Town Green, a two-plus acre space where the city hosts live outdoor concerts and seasonal events for the public. 100 Bosch cameras are stationed around the Town Center and Town Green to provide surveillance for enhanced safety and for more complex smart city solutions.
Providing smart city solutions, Bosch cameras are also counting persons entering and exiting the area to provide data on peak times people are visiting the shopping area or to track attendance at events in the park. Peachtree Corners concerts on the Town Green have been known to attract over 10,000 visitors. These solutions not only provide data on how to improve safety and crowd management but also help to manage parking in the Town Center. In select areas, Bosch cameras identify and count empty parking spots. This real-time information is displayed to those visiting the Town Center through the Choose PTC app. This solution allows visitors and residents to know if there are open spots available, or if they need to resort to overflow parking areas, which is key during high-turnout events on the Town Green. In turn, this also helps drivers find open parking faster to reduce traffic congestion and emissions. Future plans for this solution include publishing this information on Peachtree Corner’s website so residents can also access this information live online.
“Crowd control and safety monitoring at our Town Center has been a huge help for City management and first responders,” said Branham. “Bosch’s solutions in this area help us with three major areas of focus: managing parking, crowd control during large events, and resident safety. Bosch’s solutions leveraging T-Mobile’s 5G allow the city to keep a close eye on areas of the Town Center where groups may gather for long periods of time. The camera will detect this activity and will alert our office on duty to check out the area to ensure residents are safe and that there are no issues. In addition, attendance tracking has been key for planning large concerts and outdoor events we hold on the Town Green. The data allows the City, from a management standpoint, to make event crowd management more efficient and safe, especially as our downtown continues to grow in popularity. This same idea applies to the parking solution as well, which makes our residents’ and visitors’ everyday lives easier by making the parking process more streamlined. As our Town Center continues to expand and our population rises, these solutions will remain key flagstones in our city management planning.”