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Emerging Tech: The Benefits of a Living Lab

By Tony Ahmad

August 18, 2020

Benefits of a living lab for emerging technologies in transportation.

Fieldwork can be the most expensive part of a project, especially if you have to do it more than once, testing multiple scenarios and vendors.

In this era of disruption, state and local transportation agencies are being tasked with a new role in research and development (R&D). Agencies feel the stresses and pressure of successful implementation.

With limited resources, it’s important to get the project right from the outset. That’s why we rely on testing and optimization in a living lab before scaling the project.


What Is a Living Lab?

A living lab is like a sandbox – it allows our teams to experiment with solutions to solve an agency’s specific problem.

It allows for hands-on testing of the new technologies that are transforming the transportation landscape, such as advanced sensor fusion, robotics, machine learning, high-bandwidth connectivity, and cloud/edge computing. Testing is a critical component of bringing these technologies to life because without design for the full lifecycle and proper system integration, none of these components can solve a transportation agency’s problems.

In our lab, we can do the small-scale bench testing and environmental testing needed before deploying and scaling up the technology to a larger transportation network. As part of this process, we run the different components and subsystems through multiple test scenarios to determine which technology performs best and will meet our clients’ needs and requirements.

This strategy saves our clients time and money and alleviates part of their new R&D burden.


Why Your Agency Needs Small-Scale Testing

The living lab plays a vital role for clients as they consider transportation technology options. Navigating all the emerging technology vendors can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to decipher which option is best. For example, you can’t always rely on a vendor document.

That’s why it’s important for the technology to undergo rigorous, small-scale testing to ensure it is the right solution.

Our process is simple. We identify your agency’s needs and handpick a few promising transportation technology vendors that could best solve your agency’s problems. We then run those technologies through our small-scale testing process.

Our goal in all of this is to pick the right technology that meets the requirements of your agency’s transportation network.


What Can Your Agency Do?

Field deployment of any system is the most expensive part of that project, and rework is a schedule killer.

We help you protect your bottom line and your schedule by testing the system, validating all system components, assembling it, and performing burn-in.

Once our technology leaves our doors, it is ready for field deployment. There is no rework involved – your end-product is a plug-and-play.

We bring to our projects 20 years of experience working with transportation agencies to ensure that their technology is sound and ready to be deployed immediately from the lab.

Reach out to our emerging technologies experts to see how we can make your technology deployment efficient and operational while saving you money.


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Topics: Emerging Technologies, Transportation, News, Transportation Infrastructure

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About the Author

With nearly 25 years of experience in systems engineering and solution architecture, Tony Ahmad leads the Emerging Technologies within RS&H’s Tolls and Technology Service Group. Tony works directly with clients to integrate technology modernization into existing operations and long-term plans. He can be reached at Tony.Ahmad@rsandh.com.

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