Smart Energy: Taiwan street lights integrated with AI to promote energy saving and innovative applications
Street lights account for about 40% of total energy consumption in cities and smart street lights represent a cost-efficient solution for smart cities
As an integral part of urban infrastructure, street lighting contributes to the safety and security of cities. The annual cost of street lighting accounts for about 40% of the city’s energy consumption. Therefore, cities around the world propose budgets every year for street light maintenance and renewal. In recent years, following the replacement of fluorescent lamps with LED lights, street lights now have longer lifespans and less energy consumption and maintenance costs. Since electricity costs can be reduced by at least 50% and smart street lights represent a cost-efficient solution for smart cities. For example, San Diego and General Electric (GE) cooperated in a project to replace street lamps with LED lights. The street pole with the sensors which connected to the Intelligent Cities system, cloud help collect and analyze data on parking space, traffic flow, pedestrian flow, temperature and humidity, and air pressure. By connecting 3,200 street lamps to such system, the city has been able to save approximately USD 125,000 per month in electricity and maintenance costs as a result.
There are currently more than 300 million street lamps in the world. According to ABI Research, the global smart street lamp market has a CAGR of 31% from 2018 to 2026. By 2026, the smart lamp market value will grow nine times to reach USD 1.7 billion. In the past, only 20% of LED street lights were integrated with lighting control systems. In 2026, it is projected that more than two-thirds of LED street lights will be connected to the central management system. With hardware manufacturing advantages such as street light sensors and communication gateways, Taiwanese companies are able to work with global or local partners with cloud management, data storage, and software analytics expertise to seize market opportunities in smart cities through the process of smart transformation.
The Taiwan government leads the industry to explore smart street light applications for better urban energy consumption and governance efficiency
As the unit responsible for the development of smart cities in the Taiwan government, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) has succeeded in helping Taiwanese industrial PC manufacturer AAEON introduce an artificial intelligence (AI) powered street light solution into the Qingpu area of Taoyuan City that improve energy efficiency. This intelligent street light solution has run a serious of applications such as weather stations, Digital Signage, road traffic flow monitoring, Wi-Fi hotspots, and shared smart street lamps.
AAEON has cooperated with Taiwanese LED manufacturer OMA Lighting, IP camera manufacturer EverFocus, and international software providers such as Microsoft and Intel to launch a project to deploy smart-city AI on street lights. The Edge AI cameras are integrated into smart street lights to help identify the flow of people and traffic. If there is no vehicle passing by for more than 10 minutes, the street light will automatically dim by 50% to help save electricity by 12%.
In addition, the Qingpu area of Taoyuan City is a living lab that includes major streets and interactions, various commercial and office buildings and large parks. It provides companies an innovation network to practice application tests. For instance, detecting water levels in neighboring river areas, providing flood warnings during heavy rains, and developing smart toilets in parks to help monitor the usage of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and trash cans in public toilets to improve management efficiency. Meanwhile, smart lights solutions have been successfully tested in Taiwan and are ready to export. Thus far, there have been orders from Singapore, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and more.
The Smart Urban-Rural Project funded by the IDB of the MoEA has supported nearly 300 Taiwanese manufacturers, including 70 new startups, in eight areas including retail, health, energy, agriculture, tourism, safety management, transportation, and education. On top of that, the IDB has fostered up to 220 intelligent services in 22 counties and cities across Taiwan. Taiwan is committed to utilizing emerging technologies to solve people's living problems, promoting industrial upgrades, and improving urban governance efficiency. The IDB is poised to play our role as a facilitator of global cooperation between Taiwanese local solution providers and global brands to provide an answer to today’s city demands.
Gan Dai-You, MIC,
Taiwan Smart City Development Project Office of Industrial Development Bureau,