OptaSense partners with Siemens to exploit DAS technology for traffic monitoring in the UK

OptaSense, a QinetiQ company, has entered into a two-year partnership with Siemens Traffic Solutions to exploit OptaSense Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for traffic monitoring.

The agreement will enable OptaSense to roll out, support and maintain a fully networked traffic monitoring solution, leveraging Siemens’ established 24/7 response facilities and broad engineering base.

The partnership follows successful road monitoring pilot projects by OptaSense in the UK and overseas. These verified the performance of OptaSense’ DAS system compared to the conventional inductive loop technology in providing information on average speed, journey times and congestion.

A pilot project in New Zealand demonstrated that DAS was able to meet flow management and incident detection demands two-and a-half times more cheaply than inductive loops.

Unlike inductive loops, which are concealed beneath the road surface, OptaSense uses fibre optic cables already installed alongside the carriageway, removing the need for lane closures during installation or maintenance and improving safety for highway workers. The DAS boxes are also only required to be installed every 80-100km, rather than every 500m for inductive loops, significantly reducing cost.

DAS technology works by firing a laser down a fibre optic cable and measuring any disturbance to the laser and analysing it to create a series of microphones every 10 meters. This compares to the existing system which can only monitor traffic which is spaced out over hundreds of meters. DAS can therefore eliminate blind spots and also reduce the response time in the event of an incident by pinpointing the location more accurately to within 10 meters, as well as build a more detailed picture of traffic flow to the area.

For the motorist, the system results in more timely and accurate traffic data and less disruption caused by road closures.

Magnus McEwen-King, Managing Director of OptaSense, said: “Distributed fibre sensing has the potential to greatly reduce the monitoring cost for road operators by significantly reducing the amount of roadside sensors. Having spent the last few years working directly with a number of Highways Agencies to develop and test the system performance, we now move into a more commercial deployment phase and are pleased to partner with Siemens to enable this. This partnership gives us access to an established and globally recognised firm with a UK-wide support capability.”

Gordon Wakeford, Managing Director of Siemens Traffic Solutions said “Siemens has a long heritage in providing traffic management solutions and we are always looking to bring forward innovation within our industry and are impressed with the potential for DAS to perform many of the functions currently achieved with a number of sensors. We look forward to taking OptaSense DAS to our customers to help them improve the performance and costs associated with traffic management.”

Notes for Editors

About OptaSense

  • OptaSense is a platform technology which has applications in a number of markets, including infrastructure security where the technology is already in use to monitor 15,000kms of assets, principally providing leak detection and third party intrusion detection for oil and gas pipelines.
  • OptaSense is the World leader in Distributed Acoustic Sensing and operating in 40 countries globally with operations across multiple industries including Oil & Gas, Defence & Security, Transport and Utilities. It is managed as a subsidiary of the QinetiQ Group.

About QinetiQ

  • A FTSE250 company, QinetiQ uses its world class knowledge, research and innovation to provide high-end technical expertise and advice, to customers in the global aerospace, defence and security markets. QinetiQ's unique position enables it to be a trusted partner to government organisations, predominantly in the UK and the US, including defence departments as well as other international customers in targeted sectors.
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