Features of Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop/ Credit: ST Engineering

Features of Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop/ Credit: ST Engineering

Smart Bus Stop being trialled in Singapore to improve commuter experience

Trials of a world-first next-generation smart bus stop have been initiated in Singapore today to address the dual problems of urban heat [1] and air pollution (PM2.5) faced by commuters.

The Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop delivers energy-efficient, sustainable cooling with no waste heat generation, using water to cool air to as low as 24°C to address urban heat. Air purification technology removes harmful airborne particles such as PM2.5.

In addition, the bus stop harnesses digitalisation and data analytics to transform the commuter's overall transit experience.

The "Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop" is located along Orchard Road, in front of Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station/ Plaza Singapura. It was developed over a period of 18 months by Innosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab. Innosparks will trial the Smart Bus Stop for a period of 12 months in front of Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station/ Plaza Singapura from March 2018.

Enhanced cooling

It leverages the already proven technology of the Airbitat Smart Cooler which has been successfully deployed in other commercial and industrial urban spaces in Singapore, such as the Singapore Mandai Zoo, Resorts World Sentosa, and CHIJMES by Innosparks. The cooler does not use any refrigerants or compressor and is up to 70% more energy efficient than air conditioners with similar cooling capacity.

Cold water is generated in the upper segment of the cooling system by flowing water through panels of evaporative medium. This uses evaporative cooling which relies on the fact that heat is required to convert water into vapour. The same principle explains why the evaporation of sweat cools the body. Creating a reservoir of cold water boosts the cooling cycle over what can be achieved through conventional evaporative coolers.

Cold water fuels the heat exchanger in the cooling system. Ambient air passes over the hear exchanger, rapidly lowering air temperature without adding any moisture. The cooled air passes through a second panel of evaporative medium, emerging as deeply cooled air streams, with temperatures from 24 degree C (output temperature is highly dependent on ambient conditions).

How the Airbitat Oasis delivers cool and purified air/ Credit: ST Engineering

Air purification

Large particles such as debris and dirt are trapped in a filter. Then the small particles pass through an electric field and become charged. Electrically charged plates attract particles and remove them from the air.

The cooled and fresh air is then channelled through nozzles in air ducts near the roof of the bus stop, and directed at commuters waiting at the bus stop.

Sensors and analytics

The Smart Bus Stop incorporates advanced machine learning and sensors that detects ambient conditions and commuter traffic to adjust modes and deliver energy-smart cooling.

Sensors in the bus stop detect ground operating conditions (e.g. temperature, humidity, commuter traffic etc) and dynamically adjust the modes in which the air should be cooled. During a period of relative lull, the system powers down to standby mode.

The sensors are also used to track data for analysing average waiting time by commuters at the bus stop, commuter flow and the number of people at a bus stop at any one time.

The bus stop has a camera with inbuilt computer vision and advanced analytics that allows it to detect suspicious activities such as loitering and unattended bags. Currently the data is being hosted by ST Engineering for testing purposes.

Finally, the sensors also provide live updates of temperature and PM2.5 concentration level readings within and outside of bus stop which are displayed on the digital panel for commuters' information. Information on bus routes is displayed in an additional digital panel for commuters' easy reference.

Findings to be shared with government agencies

Findings from the trial such as the average commuter wait time and commuter flow at the bus stop will be shared with LTA and other interested government agencies.

Through data collected from the bus stop technologies, and surveys conducted of commuters, Innosparks will also explore how Airbitat Oasis technologies (such as its overhead air cooling and purification unit) can be deployed in other ways to meet citizens' needs in various public outdoor spaces.

One possible application is the use of an overhead Airbitat Oasis unit in other public outdoor locations, such as hawker centres, to offer both outdoor cooling and air purification capabilities.

"Designers of Smart Cities need to reimagine infrastructure and design solutions that improve their liveability for citizens. With this world's first Airbitat Oasis Smart Bus Stop, ST Engineering is trialling an approach of harnessing technology and innovation to transform land transport infrastructure so that even simple daily activities such as waiting for a bus can be greatly improved through data analytics, air cooling and purification technologies," said Mr Gareth Tang, Head, lnnosparks, an ST Engineering Open Lab.

"We are pleased to provide a platform for innovative ideas to be test bedded to improve land transport. ST Engineering has offered to fund and test bed their concept of the Airbitat Bus Stop, and showcase its innovative air cooling technology which have other applications as well. We welcome more local companies to test bed ideas that could help make commuting more pleasant,” said Mr Yeo Teck Guan, Group Director for Public Transport at the Land Transport authority (LTA).

[1] The Urban Heat Island effect occurs due to a combination of factors, including: (1) heat-trapping buildings and infrastructure, (2) reduced vegetation, (3) urban geometry, and (4) increased anthropogenic heat from human activities including traffic, industrial activities, lighting, air-conditioning (AC) etc.

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