First Smart Traffic Signs in Ülemiste to Mark the Opening of City of the Future Professorship

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Today the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), the City of Tallinn and Ülemiste City launched the innovative City of the Future Professorship, to be opened in TalTech this autumn. To mark the occasion, the first ever smart traffic signs in Estonia were demonstrated. They will start gathering detailed information about the city environment and traffic situation in the Ülemiste hub, which will then be used for designing the city of the future.

Chairman of the Mainor AS Management Board Kadi Pärnits explained that the professorship was created by TalTech to help Ülemiste City become a city of the future. „Through the professorship the Ülemiste campus will turn into a test bed of a sort, where data about the operation of a modern city is gathered, processed and synthesised and innovative solutions are tried out in the same setting – all with the aim of improving the environment. And the best outcomes can be used all across Tallinn and elsewhere as well,” Pärnits said, adding that the developers of Ülemiste have pledged almost 500,000 euros in support of the professorship during the next few years.

„I commend Ülo Pärnits for his foresight as author of the idea behind Ülemiste City – even today Ülemiste City is a city of the future,” TalTech rector Jaak Aaviksoo said. According to Aaviksoo, a city of the future does not mean a place full of technological gadgets, but rather a great and cool place for living and working. Technology is just there to help achieve this. „By bringing together specialists from different fields we can create even smarter solutions in architecture, construction, as well as indoor climate. That’s why we are looking for this super professor – to achieve all this,” Aaviksoo explained, hoping that innovation emerging from the endeavour can be useful for others as well.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Aivar Riisalu said that knowledge was most important and that in this era of mixed messages the city needed specific knowledge in order to make rational and fact-based decisions. „It is essential for Tallinn to contribute to the new City of the Future Professorship along with Ülemiste City and TalTech; in so doing our decisions will be based on real knowledge, not on someone’ moods or superstition,” Riisalu added.

The smart traffic signs for Ülemiste City are the first of their kind in Estonia, designed and developed by Bercman Technologies, an Estonian company. The signs have cameras and sensors to measure the movement of pedestrians and vehicles and predict the trajectory of their movement. The sign will blink a warning, if the software has established a potential threat.

The cameras and sensors attached to the traffic signs shall gather data about the number of cars, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as traffic volume, the weather, exhaust gases and noise. The data will be analysed and used for developing new solutions by the scientists of the City of the Future Professorship.

The new TalTech professorship brings together research fellows, graduate and postgraduate students and an R&D working group, who will focus on data processing and research for creating future living and working environments.

The partners of the project include the developers of Ülemiste City, TalTech, the City of Tallinn, the technology giant Ericsson and a number of other private companies, mostly based in Ülemiste City.

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