Modulate public lighting using artificial intelligence

Switch off, or leave on? The question ofpublic lighting night, becomes a headache for many local authorities looking for savings on their energy bills in this comeback.

According Ademepublic lighting accounts for 41% of consumption electricity municipalities, and the 11 million light points that make up the public lighting system in France, represent more than 10% of total national electricity consumption. Besides the light pollution from the sky, night lighting also poses a challenge for the preservation of biodiversity, since it is one of the main sources of the disappearance of insects.

Artificial intelligence

Created three years ago, and so far in the experimental phase, the Bordeaux start-up NRGY Box, incubated by Unitech in the digital city of Bègles, has just raised 500,000 euros and will recruit ten people, to industrialize his process and commercialize it on a large scale.

The company has developed a process that combines an electronic module with an artificial intelligence module to regulate public lighting. “Concretely, explains the co-founder of the company Rémi Kupisz, it works with a module IoT (Internet of Things) associated with a low-speed network that is installed in the foot of the pole of the lamp post, and which will allow us to take control of it remotely so that it performs lighting programs: we can thus turn on, off or regulate public lighting. We then have a second module which determines the lighting program thanks to a predictive analysis of population flows, based on information collected from mobile telephone operators. »

The community can thus set the start-up a savings target to be achieved, “and according to this we program the lights to impact as many people as possible when we light up, and conversely to ‘penalize’ the fewer people possible when you turn off. »

A solution that adapts to the constraints of the city

The start-up works today with five communities in New Aquitaine. In Chateaubernard in the suburbs of Cognac (Charente), where 92 light points in an activity zone have been equipped, the community’s bill went between April 2021 and May 2022 from 9,318 euros to 2,329 euros, or 75% of savings.

Mayor of Gradignan, in the suburb of Bordeaux, Michel Labardin is also experimenting with the device in a district of his city. “We have equipped all the public lighting poles with a large activity area, where attendance drops sharply from 7-8 p.m. We were able to isolate temporalities where the lighting is not necessary, and we only trigger it at certain times and when there is movement. The result is interesting, especially in view of the investment which is not very expensive. Is it generalizable to the whole municipality? It is less obvious, and for the moment we reserve it for business areas, where attendance is quite easy to analyze since it is generally confined to office hours. »

Rémi Kupisz, for his part, defends a system which is intended to be very flexible in use. “It is obvious that a residential area will not function like a city centre, and our solution can precisely adapt to particular situations, for example by setting up ‘paths of light’, i.e. say by leaving only the busiest streets of a district lit, or just one point of light out of three or four, to guarantee safety. And at any time the community can take control to modify this setting. »

In some areas “the question of turning off at night is more nuanced”

The mayor of Gradignan remains convinced in any case that we must “get out of the cleavage on or off. “As much as possible, you have to turn off, of course, but without forbidding yourself to look at certain areas where the question is more nuanced. I am thinking of large complexes, student residences, where turning everything off at night can pose difficulties. In some neighborhoods, we are beginning to see phenomena of “self-censorship” appear on the question of going out at night. This is an issue on which education is needed, and the consent of the inhabitants. »

Even if “several studies have shown that insecurity does not progress with the extinction of the light, recognizes Rémi Kupisz, despite everything, when you find yourself alone at night, and that everything is off, there remains a feeling of insecurity . This is why the idea is to turn off at the best time, rather than in a somewhat arbitrary way between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. »

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Modulate public lighting using artificial intelligence

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