The Internet-Connected Rubbish Trucks Set to Change Australia

Josh Alston 16/12/2022 Waste Management
5g rubbish truck brimbank

5G rubbish trucks have been unveiled in Melbourne in a move that could change waste management and community asset management forever.

Brimbank City Council is taking the initiative to improve its municipal services in an innovative way. Together with Swinburne University of Technology and Optus, they have created a smart IoT-powered research project using 5G technology.

High-resolution stereo vision cameras and GPS sensors have been fitted onto eleven waste collection trucks and are now travelling around on their usual routes.

This data collection provides valuable insights into the community. They can identify illegal dumping sites or damage to road signs. Which can then be addressed quickly by the Council’s maintenance team.

By teaming up with leading experts in research and technology, Brimbank City Council is leading the way for better waste management practices that benefit everyone in the local area.

“The technology documents visual evidence of damaged signs, dumped rubbish and pin-points their exact location on a municipality map dashboard,” Brimbank City Council Mayor, Cr Jasmine Nguyen said.

Director of Swinburne’s Factory of the Future and Digital Innovation Lab, Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman said: “The developed proof of concept has been operational since June this year, and we have been constantly reporting various asset issues to Brimbank via the system.”

How The 5G Rubbish Trucks Collect Invaluable Data

The stereo vision and depth cameras attached to the garbage trucks will collect 3D perception data at a rate of 900 megabits per second. That’s a dramatic increase compared to average mobile download speeds in Australia (43 megabits per second).

3d cameras on the rubbish truck
3D cameras on the rubbish truck. (Image via Swinburne University of Technology)

That’s not all though; the garbage trucks travel across every street in the council area each week. And they need to transmit the data seamlessly while they’re moving at varying speeds.

By equipping the waste collection trucks in the Brimbank community with 5G capabilities, garbage collection is not only keeping the area functioning, clean and safe – but it’s also helping to build a smarter and more efficient city.

From data about road signs, bus shelters and infrastructure damage, these connected trucks are sending valuable information back to a cloud-based system and enabling teams to quickly assess maintenance requirements.

This innovative approach is helping the Brimbank community become future-ready by better utilising the data collected across its waste management channels.

The idea of the council being able to use data collected from 5G rubbish trucks is nothing short of remarkable. It means that roads can be properly maintained and even small issues like damaged signage or potholes can be detected before they become a danger or hazard.

This would help to protect drivers, cyclists and pedestrians and make sure that our streets are always in good condition for everyone to use safely. Best of all, it keeps these safety problems from occurring before anyone can even realise there’s an issue. It’s time-efficient, cost-effective and could potentially save lives.

“Residents have told us via the Community Survey that improving the appearance of Brimbank’s roads, road signs, bus stop shelters and roadside spaces is a high priority,” Cr Nguyen said.

“This innovative 5G-based project offers us a quicker and more efficient way to identify which assets need maintenance, and to get the information to the work crews. Simply put, this project will help Council respond faster to assets that need maintenance.”

The launch of 5G-enabled garbage trucks has the potential to revolutionise the way Brimbank Council identifies, documents and fixes issues – leading to immense savings in both time and money.

The data provided by 5G will also enable maintenance teams on the ground to handle any anomalies with assets as soon as they arise, freeing up resources for larger infrastructure projects.

This long-awaited and far-reaching change is estimated to save between $15-$20 million annually and will no doubt pave the way for other councils in Australia, potentially reshaping how they handle asset auditing.

With 5G set to be fully implemented with this improved system of waste management and asset inspection, it appears that a brighter future awaits all those under the Brimbank Council umbrella.

The Future of 5G Rubbish Trucks

The City Council’s innovative 5G project is changing the way in which problems along roads and in community areas are being addressed.

Developed by Associate Professor Jayaraman, the project has three main goals; to reduce illegal dumping of rubbish on nature strips, detect road signs that are regularly damaged, and assess the condition of bus shelters.

Prem Prakash Jayaraman camera test
Associate Professor Prem Prakash Jayaraman works with Dr Felip Marti Carrillo and Dr Yong-Bin Kang (left to right) to test the cameras. (Image via Swinburne University of Technology)

Fitted with IoT technology such as 5G sensors and cameras, these trucks can detect things such as graffiti and litter more efficiently than ever before. Instead of waiting days or even weeks for the council to address a problem, citizens can now expect their issues to be resolved much quicker due to the additional support provided by 5G monitoring technology.

The city council hopes that this initiative will also encourage citizens to be more conscious and respect our environment through improved cleanliness within public areas.

“On average, these trucks do eight hours of collection, either green waste or your household waste,” Associate Professor Jayaraman said.

“The entire solution is live and as the trucks are driving out every day from their 5 AM shift to midday, we are collecting data, processing it and reporting back to Brimbank.”

This cutting-edge project is not only proving Melbourne’s innovative spirit but also serves as an exciting step forward for both sustainability and urban development projects across Australia.

As Melbourne moves towards a more efficient system of waste collection with an infrastructure powered by 5G technology, it provides an exciting vision of what many other cities in Australia can accomplish too.

The project will show how 5G and the Internet of Things can positively impact cities throughout Australia by enabling sensory devices connected to the trucks to provide real-time guidance in waste collection and prioritise bins for pickup.

By utilising this technology, Melbourne will be able to reduce emissions, improve public health and safety, as well as benefit from greater efficiency across waste collection services. This is yet another step in Melbourne’s ongoing commitment to becoming an even smarter and more sustainable metropolis in the future.

Also Read: 7 Waste to Reduce Waste at School

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  • Josh Alston

    Josh is a reporter, editor and copywriter. Specialise in corporate writing, politics, innovation and stories that generate human interest and engagement.

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