Which country has the smartest technology

Self-driving cars, extensive WLAN and intelligent traffic infrastructure - what sounds like a science fiction scenario is increasingly becoming a reality - and it comes from Austria, more precisely from Melk.

Smart Street: The intelligent street can do that

The city in Lower Austria is a pioneer in digitization in traffic. The first “intelligent” pilot road is also located here. They do not shy away from new developments: The Melker company Fonatsch is the manufacturer of digital light poles and Co. and opened the pilot road section right next to the company premises in the summer of 2018.

But what does “Smart Street” actually mean? The "intelligent" road combines modern technologies in the traffic sector, such as the sensor-equipped light masts from Fonatsch, with other promising tools from companies all over Austria.

Save electricity with light poles or charge an electric car

While the above-mentioned light masts respond to the respective traffic load with needs-based lighting and corresponding energy consumption, they are also equipped with radio, WLAN or charging stations. So you can save electricity in one fell swoop (when it is not needed) and charge the e-car or e-bike. Special masts for pedestrian zones even offer cooling on hot summer days.

App completes the intelligent traffic experience

In addition, there is a special app that shows the next free parking space, warns of traffic jams or shows options for bypassing construction sites. It can be connected to the mobile phone or to the navigation system in the car. Even the trash cans and advertising banners on this street have intelligent functions. An emergency is taken care of: the light masts offer emergency lighting with a collecting point and a radio function that is independent of electricity in the event of a blackout.

In addition, the sensors can be coupled with traffic lights in order to better regulate the flow of traffic. It also includes an energy self-sufficient bus stop, which was designed as part of a public participation project. It controls the intelligent lighting with the help of a motion detector and offers a wide range of technical equipment from USB plugs for charging mobile phones to free WiFi and emergency buttons. The whole thing is operated in an environmentally friendly way with solar power. The smart bus shelter is already in use at various locations in the Melk area.

Model road in planning

The smart street is constantly evolving: in the future, self-driving cars should be able to communicate with the sensors on the light poles and thus be even better controlled. What is currently still a pilot street on the company premises will soon be implemented as a really busy Smart Street not far from the monastery in Melk. The model street in Melk will be the first before the whole of Austria is “intelligent” - and therefore environmentally conscious and energy-efficient.

Kommunalnet took a closer look at the pilot road in Melk in a video - you can find it under the heading “Tatort Gemeinde” on Kommunalnet.at and on YouTube.