Streetlights – what comes to your mind, when you hear streetlights? We’ve seen a lot of motivational stories about some great leaders of the country, who used to study under streetlights as a kid and grew up to the level to lead the nation one day. But all those were pre-independence era stories.
Today, when you hear the word “streetlight”, what comes to your mind? Somebody said – the first thing that comes to my mind is working streetlight or non-working? That means, there’s a strong possibility that it might not be maintained. Moreover, streetlights are dumb – either they are on or off. Secondly, if you say working streetlight, majority of people get a pictorial image of a halogen streetlight with a pale yellow illumination.
For most of us, it’s something of unworthy of giving a second thought, but just a few more details on the subject will make you think about it. For example, did you read the Economic Times report of Dec 9, 2015?
ET reported, as per PTI – “Around two lakh street lights in south Delhi municipal areas will be replaced with LEDs under a project taken up by SDMC in a move to cut down greenhouse gas emissions and save electricity. This is expected to save 5.4 crore unit of electricity and an annual savings of INR 48.49 crore, reducing carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 41,500 tons.” Now just imagine how much money and atmospheric pollution does it costs.
Another report by an online media reported on 26th February, 2015 says, just one city of Chennai has 2,14,008 street lights maintained by the Corporation of Chennai. Of these, 84,664 use 70 watt Sodium Vapor lamps, 49,420 use 40 watt tube light, 42,250 use 250 watt Sodium Vapor lamps. The total energy consumption in Chennai, on account of the above, is 19 MW. It comes at a cost of INR 200 lakhs per month.
On the other hand, if we look at the basic up keeping and maintenance of the streetlights, we come across astonishing reports on that from media. For example, “Be at home after dark in Delhi. Nearly 70 per cent of the capital’s three lakh street lights, maintained by the civic corporation, do not work — a factor people blame for the rising number of crimes after dusk in Delhi.” – says News18, as per report published on December 14, 2010, 5:36 PM IST.
Approximately 50 percent of all motor-vehicle fatalities occur during nighttime driving, while only 25 percent of travel occurs at night. Roadway lighting provides drivers with the visibility needed to detect changes in roadway geometry, obstacles on or near the roadway, and pedestrians or other objects that enter the roadway. Studies have credited roadway lighting with lowering accident rates by 20 to 30 percent.
Now just think, if we add some intelligence to these lights – what’ll happen? Imagine this, if we can make them dim and brighter they can save electricity. If they become aware of the environment – like when the clouds are heavy they’ll light up automatically, if they are on intersecting roads, they’ll give brighter light at night for ensure full visibility, while if they are at a lonely road with no traffic, they’ll dim the light and save electricity, if its broad daylight, they’ll switch off, if a few lights aren’t working they’ll report the fault themselves. – Sound like science fiction!
Well, that isn’t science fiction any more. This is what technology can enable us to do.