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Live Labs blog: Project update – Buckinghamshire’s busy summer!

2 October 2019

This month, we've caught up with the Buckinghamshire Live Labs team who are focused on creating a SMART, connected community in Aylesbury Garden Town…

It’s been a busy time. Taking their project out to the community this summer, the team have been showcasing their plans at the Buckinghamshire County Show and Waterside Festival. The good news is it has been very well received! As well as consulting with stakeholders, the team are working closely with Aylesbury District Council to align the project with the Garden Town's own programme of work.  

Work has included using suppliers to speed up procurement, conducting 'proof of concept' workshops, undertaking desk-top studies into the last mile solution for connected and semi/-autonomous vehicles, creating a futureproofed roadmap and assessing sites for the gully sensors. And as if that wasn’t enough, they have also engaged new suppliers for wind and energy technologies.

As with all projects, challenges can be frequent and unexpected, testing the team’s resourcefulness. Fortunately, the Bucks team are no strangers to obstacles and they’ve been able to re-evaluate, find solutions and move on.

We take a closer look at some of the challenges they’ve faced below.

Using 3D printing to create lighting columns for the Garden Town is an eye-catching proposition. However, with further research, the team found that construction regulations do not allow 3D printing or construction from recycled materials. Forced to go back to the drawing board, Bucks has created a new style of lighting column, with a composite of plastic and fibreglass. Happily, there are benefits to this new development, as the modular creation enables the columns to be of varying heights allowing increased longevity and greater versatility.

Data tracking, including air temperature, pollution and traffic counts, is an essential part of the Bucks project. The content management system (CMS) sensor nodes that enable data collection, were to be installed into the existing 1800 luminaires (the light at the top of the street-light column). The team soon found that not all luminaires are compatible with these nodes and will need replacing. Bucks are currently looking into alternative solutions.

One of the most exciting aspects of the project is to examine harvesting kinetic energy from roads. After initial surveys, the place chosen was found to have a major gas line running under it, so the team are currently assessing new locations to find the optimum site for this trial.

We look forward to seeing how the Bucks Live Labs project continues to progress over the coming months, and to finding more updates from all eight projects at the ADEPT Autumn conference in November!