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Ara’s own Dr. Amit Sarkar – acclaimed as ‘smart city expert’

28 October, 2020

Prolific Ara researcher and tutor Amit Sarkar has recently been described as a ‘smart city expert’ after a project that he worked on recently won a City of Regensburg civic award for sustainable local government practices.

The award, presented on October 7th at the historic Reichssaal of the Old Town Hall, is one of three environmental prizes awarded annually, and was presented to Prof. Dr. Jan Dünnweber from OTH Regensburg for the ‘schools and initiatives’ category.

Dr.  Dünnweber was recognized the successful reduction of the Regensberg municipality’s carbon footprint through the implementation of ‘smart bins’.  Known for his research into artificial intelligence and its contribution towards ‘smart cities’, Dr. Dünnweber was able to optimize the City’s waste disposal process with the so-called 'intelligent garbage can', designed in collaboration with Dr. Amit.

Cost-effective, energy-saving city infrastructure is urgently needed world-wide in order to help reduce CO2 emissions attributable to cities. Taking up just 2% of global land area, cities produce a shocking 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.

With this in mind, Regensburg’s rubbish bins were fitted with sensors which are able to detect full or nearly full bins, as opposed to those that don’t need to be emptied. This allows collection drivers to optimise their routes based on this information. Having algorithmically-informed collection routes based on knowledge of exactly when bins needs to be collected at any given hour greatly improves fuel usage, man-hours and other operational parameters – with an overall result of lowered costs and carbon contribution.

All bin assets are managed within a digital inventory held in a cloud-based platform, and the remote-sensing features also enable service verifications and user-determined scheduled updates of bin status. 

Amit says “I’ve been working with IoT experts from OTH Regensburg for a number of years and I think it has been a very fruitful collaboration. The relationship between Ara and OTH has only deepened and strengthened over this time, and now, due to our mutual connection with Bosch and Jade Software here in Christchurch, I’m anticipating an increasing number of new solutions being jointly created by our institutions (co-creation); solutions that will hopefully be of use to both the public and private sectors.”