In South Korea, about 20 so-called smart street lamps have been installed in the city center. They are designed to better manage traffic or to monitor certain places, or simply to help connect to a public wireless network. By the end of the year, the new models should be able to charge electric cars, as well as drones!
For the moment, 26 of these lamp posts have been installed. Each of these poles of course provides street lighting and traffic lights, but they are also more "intelligent" than regular street lamps, collecting a maximum of information. Other services such as public wireless access points (WiFi) and closed circuit video surveillance cameras are also integrated into the posts.
Over time, the idea is to customize each lamp post according to the needs of its location and neighborhood. For example, the "Smart Poles" in Seoul Plaza, located just in front of City Hall, offer access to a public WiFi connection. The ones near Sungnyemun Gate have QR codes that can guide visitors to online cultural information.
The first poles equipped with charging solutions for cars and drones are expected before the end of the year. They are designed to be able to easily charge, remotely, the drones used by the municipal services, which serve to help authorities monitor what is happening in the city, such as parking enforcement, but also intervene in case of disasters, where emergency rescue is needed.
While the drone charging system appears to be a world first, the idea of using street furniture as charging points for electric cars is gaining ground in many places around the world. In Europe, the German startup ubitricity is already proposing a solution that consists of integrating such tech into an existing streetlight. This solution, which has already been used successfully in Great Britain, will soon be tested in France.
For the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the installation of this new generation of streetlights should help improve the urban landscape, but also the safety and well-being of Seoulites. In any case, they will help facilitate the transition to an increasingly connected and intelligent city.