Smart transportation solutions and the use of digital technologies were in the spotlight at the Southern African Transport Conference in South Africa. The conference, focused on rethinking transportation, explored ways to plan and build resilient systems to address global externalities.
One key area of discussion was the application of digital twin technology in transport, with experts highlighting its potential to make the industry smarter and more efficient. French firm Oris presented a case study on how digital twins can lead to alternative designs with lower carbon footprints and reduced costs.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) also showcased their findings on using technology solutions, such as drones, for bridge inspections. The CSIR team highlighted the cost and time benefits of using drones instead of traditional methods.
Furthermore, AI was discussed as a tool to address road safety concerns related to overloaded vehicles. Academics from North West University presented research on how AI can assist in intelligent decision-making to identify vehicles in need of static weighing, reducing unnecessary fuel consumption and time wasted.
Currently, Traffic Control Centres protect the country’s road infrastructure through overload-control weighbridges along major freight corridors. However, the researchers emphasized that these systems lack the necessary information for intelligent decision-making, leading to a significant number of legally loaded vehicles being weighed unnecessarily.
To address this, the researchers proposed an AI-backed overload control method that shares data between stations, allowing for more intelligent decisions about which vehicles need to undergo static weighing.
The conference provided a platform for academics and experts to explore innovative approaches and technologies that can enhance the efficiency and sustainability of transportation systems in the region.