Research Foundation News

January 26, 2022

$15,000 awarded to three finalists of the West Lafayette Smart City Challenge

Purdue University teams and Virginia small business among finalists

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Organizers of the West Lafayette Smart City Challenge have awarded $15,000 to build new data-driven tools that increase public safety. Winning teams include a Virginia-based startup and two teams of engineering students from Purdue University. The winning teams and project concepts are:

  • Metaverse Technologies Inc. is creating a smart intersection beacon platform that will anonymously collect data from intersections and user apps and process the information to deliver messages and signal directives back to the intersection and roadway users to improve situational awareness, safety and intersection efficiency.
  • Communicative LED Pathways is an Internet of Things-based audio and visual platform to improve situational awareness of nonmotor vehicle roadway users to local conditions at individual intersections – congestion, traffic speed, etc., to improve safety and intersection efficiency.
  • Traffic Real-time Analysis Weather System is an Internet-of-Things-based street sign platform that delivers automated artificial intelligence/machine learning derived messages based on various roadway conditions – weather, congestion, construction – to road users to improve safety and roadway efficiency.

The winning teams proposed IoT solutions or software applications to improve safety for vulnerable road users who navigate high-traffic corridors and intersections during major seasonal events in the city. Several teams offered many highly innovative proposals, but the three finalists selected stood out for their solutions’ potential impact, viability, scalability and sustainability, organizers said.

"One of the most incredible benefits of being a college community is the partnership between the university and the city," West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said. "We in the city of West Lafayette have the opportunity to serve as a living laboratory by testing new technologies and ideas to make our community safe for visitors and citizens alike. We are very excited about the ideas that the three finalists have developed, and we look forward to seeing these ideas put to practice."

During this phase, each team will receive $5,000 in financial support, gain access to historical datasets and real-time data generated by West Lafayette's network of Miovision street cameras and sensors, and be provided working and project space at the Convergence Center's Innovation Lab at Discovery Park District at Purdue. In addition, advisors from leading technology companies working with IoT, 5G and data analytics – including AT&T, Cisco, Ericsson, Tilson and the Indiana 5GZone – will assist teams with coaching and fine-tuning their concepts and prototypes.

Last summer, the Innovation Partners Institute organized the WL Smart City Challenge with funding from Christian Kanady START Coalition to leverage the ingenuity of students and small businesses in solving a public safety concern in West Lafayette. The city's population nearly doubles when students return to campus, and the roads of Discovery Park become high-trafficked areas during certain events such as football games, concerts and festivals. The solutions identified through this competition will help to improve public safety and traffic flow for residents and visitors.

"It's exciting to provide a showcase for this immense level of creativity," Kanady said. "When we set our best and brightest minds on a problem and provide them with the proper resources to develop solutions, it's amazing what can happen. We all go farther and faster when we invest back into local communities."

Mung Chiang, executive vice president for strategic initiatives at Purdue University and the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, said, "It is exciting to see two student teams from Purdue's Engineering 131 selected as finalists in this unique town-gown collaboration. This example of the lab to life model being built in the Discovery Park District at Purdue will turn the district into the premier site for deploying the latest innovations to actual use."

In May, the teams will showcase their prototypes. The winning team will receive an additional $10,000 to pilot its solution on West Lafayette roadways from May to December 2022. Register online for the event or to see more details about the competition.

About the city of West Lafayette

The city of West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to Purdue University. As part of its strategic plan, the city is looking to make its community more sustainable and biker and pedestrian friendly.

Innovation Partners Institute

The Innovation Partners Institute is located in the Convergence Center in the heart of the new Discovery Park District at Purdue. Located adjacent to the Purdue University campus, the Discovery Park District at Purdue is a playground for innovation, providing access to world-class researchers, leading companies, state-of-the-art facilities, core-labs and advanced technology centers. This 400-plus acre mixed-use development is also being planned as a "connected community," powered by a 5G+ technology infrastructure composed of fiber, an edge data center, multi-use spectrum including CBRS, and multiple IoT and AI test beds. For more information, visit www.partnersforinnovation.org.

US Ignite

US Ignite is a high-tech nonprofit with a mission to accelerate the smart community movement. We work to guide communities into the connected future, create a path for private-sector growth, and advance technology research that’s at the heart of smarter development. For more information, visit www.us-ignite.org.

Indiana 5G Zone

The Indiana 5G Zone, one of many NineTwelve initiatives, is advancing the transformation of physical industries by powering smart cities, smart logistics, and advanced manufacturing. Its cross-sector demonstration 5G lab is the first of its kind to enable government, business and academia to design and commercialize groundbreaking testbed offerings with immediate practical applications.

About Purdue Foundry

The Purdue Foundry exists to help Purdue students, faculty and local alumni move ideas to the marketplace more quickly. It is a place to transform innovators into entrepreneurs by providing advice on entity formation, ideation, market analysis and business model development. We are focused on helping individuals at Purdue who have business or product ideas and want to turn them into a company. The process and passion for the success of each company is driven by the entrepreneur and while the Foundry provides support, education, and additional tools to help each client reach success.

About NEXT Studios

Founded in 2020, NEXT Studios is a venture studio that is a partnership of experienced entrepreneurs who help visionaries share their ideas, craft them through a repeatable process, and move them forward with capital and talent. The studio works with entrepreneurs across the state to move their ideas into products and their products into companies. The studio uses a proven process to reduce the risk for investors and encourage more local investors to get involved in our local innovation economy.

About Ericsson

Ericsson is one of the leading providers of information and communication technology to service providers. We enable the full value of connectivity by creating game-changing technology and services that are easy to use, adopt and scale, making our customers successful in a fully connected world.

About CISCO

Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) enables people to make powerful connections – whether in business, education, philanthropy or creativity. Cisco hardware, software and service offerings are used to create the internet solutions that make networks possible – providing easy access to information anywhere, at any time.

About Tilson

Tilson is on a mission to build America's information infrastructure. Recognized 11 consecutive years on the Inc. 5000, Tilson provides network deployment and information system professional services to telecom, construction, utility and government clients. As a leading network design, build and operating firm, Tilson builds high-performing technology project teams that take on the largest and most impactful information infrastructure projects in the country.

About Miovision

Miovision provides cities with modern tools to fix today’s traffic problems. We offer solutions that collect multimodal traffic data and uncover actionable insights, helping municipalities get more out of their road network.

The company, started by three University of Waterloo friends in a basement, has evolved into the leading authority on traffic data. Miovision began as a traffic solution company, but our continued approach to innovation and dedication to solving real-world problems has led us to where we stand today: helping cities achieve their smart city visions.

About AT&T

AT&T creates connection – with each other, with the things people and businesses need to thrive every day, and with the stories and experiences that matter. Connectivity simply makes the world better, and we believe everyone should have the internet access they need to live, learn, work and play to life's fullest. Learn more at att.com.

Media contacts:

Erin Easter, eeaster@westlafayette.in.gov, 765-775-5161

Lizzette Arias, lizzette.arias@us-ignite.org, 571-245-0016

Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org


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