around 3.7 billion euros in Europe to 5.8 bil- lion euros in 2010 (see p.27). The global mar- ket for traffic telematics is worth about 25 bil- lion euros, with growth rates between six and seven percent per year. A Siemens solution for the problems of traffic congestion, acci- dents, environmental pollution and delays in public transportation systems is currently be- ing implemented in the Ruhr region, Europe’s largest conurbation.
At the heart of this solution, known as Ruhrpilot (see p. 23), is a central computer that is networked with several thousand sen- sors. These high-tech measuring stations, which are distributed throughout the region, continuously monitor traffic density, direction and speed and transmit their data to the cen- tral computer. There, a comprehensive image of the current traffic situation is compiled for all road users, who can access this informa-
tion by means of the Internet, mobile phone or vehicle navigation system to plan their travel routes. With the help of simulation cal- culations, Ruhrpilot can even forecast traffic congestion up to an hour ahead of time. “Thanks to our simulation calculations, we can reduce congestion, bottlenecks and acci- d e n t s b y u p t o 2 0 p e r c e n t a n d C O 2 e m i s s i o n by as much as 10 percent,” says Hans- Joachim Schade from Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services. What’s more, the sys- tem can determine optimal travel routes via every means of transportation. If drivers can’t reach their destinations by car, they are directed to a parking lot where they can transfer to a bus or a train. s
Siemens is also using networked systems in buildings, such as “T-Com Haus” in Berlin. Here, a conventional prefabricated house has been converted into a smart high-tech home (see p. 20). In this smart home, the first of its kind in the world, almost all of the technical devices are networked and can communicate with one another — from home automation to security systems.
Networked technology also ensures safety in amusement parks (see p. 16) and traffic tunnels, where its use is especially important because accidents inside tunnels can have disastrous consequences. In order to make such accidents things of the past, an intelli- gent video monitoring system from Siemens has been in operation for a year now in the Giswil Tunnel in Switzerland (see p. 13). The system can autonomously locate stalled vehi-
Networked technology helps traffic flow more smoothly and makes buildings safer.
KEEPING AN EYE ON POWER PLANTS
cles, congestion and fires. If cameras discover a fire, for example, they transmit this informa- tion to other control systems and automati- cally sound an alarm. That makes the Giswil Tunnel, which is about two kilometers long, the safest and most modern tunnel in Europe.
Networking can significantly lower costs and make processes more effective. Chinese power plant operator Guohua Electric Power Corporation (GEPC) has been enjoying these bene- fits ever since January 2005, when Siemens installed a cockpit portal in its Beijing headquarters. No comparable system is available in China at this time. The cockpit portal enables GEPC to con- tinuously monitor the situation in its power plants and react much faster than before to tricky sit- uations such as power outages. “The cockpit portal gives us detailed data for the in-depth analy- ses and high-quality comprehensive images we need for fast management decisions,” says Guohua CIO Li Wei. “That’s vital for success in China’s energy market.” The control instruments in the power plants are completely networked with the cockpit portal. That allows the system to collect all of the crucial information it needs from the control technology, such as data on fuel management, maintenance and processes. The system graphically processes the data flow on large monitors and automatically informs the user if discrepancies occur in any area. That’s a pre- cious advantage in energy-hungry China. “A sudden shutdown, for example after a fault, can be an expensive proposition for the operator,” says Andreas Schimanski from Siemens Power Gener- ation. “That’s why availability conditions of power stations are extremely important.” If these con- ditions cannot be met, the cockpit portal sounds a warning. “That enables the operators to react much faster to discrepancies, for example by redistributing the load at an early stage. This can save them as much as half a million euros a day,” he says.
Networked Skyscrapers. Comprehensive monitoring also plays a key role in the highest office building in the world, the 500-meter Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan is protected by the SiPass access control system, one of the world’s most advanced security systems (see p. 15). SiPass is networked with the EMCS energy con- trol system, which also regulates the sky- scraper’s lighting, air conditioning and many other systems. If someone registers at an access terminal on one of the parking levels, SiPass will inform the EMCS, which will then automatically turn on the lights on that level. This increases the safety of the building’s tenants and users, while limiting operating costs.
And there is yet another type of networked technology that Siemens has been working on for more than 20 years in order to save costs and increase transparency: RFID chips make it possible to electronically label objects and thus network production and logistics processes (see p. 28). This makes processes more efficient and transparent, and speeds up the flow of goods. A bright future is in store for RFID in logistics. And Siemens is a pioneer in this field. It’s the only c o m p a n y t o o f f e r c o m p l e t e R F I D s o l u t i o n s f o r a ■ F l o r i a n M a r t i n i broad range of sectors.
Improving Tunnel Vision
Intelligent cameras automatically detect unexpected events and interact with other systems to activate safety systems in tunnels.
O n March 24, 1999, a truck burst into flames in the Montblanc Tunnel and 39 people died in one of Europe’s worst tunnel disasters. It took firemen 53 hours to bring the fire under control. Because of the smoke and 1,200-degree-Celsius temperatures, they were unable to reach the burning truck.
This and subsequent catastrophes gener- ated a vigorous debate and led to changes in regulations. “Today, as a result, a parallel safety tunnel and video detectors have be- come standard features,” says Karl Rohrer from the Construction and Property Develop- ment Department of the Swiss canton of Ob- walden. Rohrer was responsible for the safety
Rohrer considers the video monitoring sys- tem, which was installed by Siemens in 2004, as the key visual aid. In case of an emergency, the systems trigger a chain reaction of alarms and safety measures. “For example, the sys- tem can detect a fire at an early stage by ana- lyzing the development of smoke,” says proj- ect leader Michael Ludwig from Siemens Building Technologies (SBT) Switzerland. “It can also identify stalled cars and congestion.”
The system uses evaluation algorithms to calculate how many vehicles are in the tunnel and their speeds. Using gray-scale video analysis technology, any deviation from stan- dard reference images is closely observed. “If
alarm system. In case of an emergency, these intelligent “eyes” reliably save the relevant data and transmit the images in real time to police headquarters. Because the video cam- eras never tire, they save a lot of work for their human teammates.
At the heart of the system is a master com- puter, which is linked with other computers in the network via a Siemens Profibus data transfer system. The fire alarms, ventilation system, alarm signals and traffic monitoring are thus all linked. If thick smoke is detected, a message is immediately sent to the various safety systems. These, in turn, switch the traf- fic lights at the tunnel entrances to red, make
features of the 2.1-kilometer Giswil Tunnel, which connects Lucerne and Bern and is to- day regarded as the safest and most modern tunnel in Europe. On entry, motorists imme- diately notice the excellent lighting, the niches equipped with emergency telephones and fire extinguishers, and the brightly illumi- nated escape tunnels. Traffic is observed around the clock by 23 video cameras. In ad- dition, sensors measure visibility impairment, wind direction and temperature. This data is in turn used to continuously adust ventilators, lighting and traffic guidance.
Europe’s safest tunnel. The monitoring system in the Giswil Tunnel automatically detects smoke and traffic congestion. Firemen practice procedures in a trial tunnel.
there’s a long-term change, for example if a vehicle halts because of a flat tire, the system sounds an alarm. We can then halt the traffic in front of the tunnel and thus prevent con- gestion inside,” says Ludwig. The biggest ad- vantage of video detection is the automatic
the lighting brighter and activate the smoke outlet.
A test fire demonstrates the effectiveness of the system. On the video monitor, the fire is just a bright light. Clouds of smoke rise and the image grows dimmer until the screen turns gray. But suddenly there’s a whirl of air and the cloud disappears. The system has sucked the smoke out, thus reducing the danger of smoke inhalation and making it easier for drivers to find escape routes.
The smoke outlet system includes vents spaced at 75-meter intervals along the tun-
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005