Grizzly trials: a flexible partnership serving winter viability, 9 test sites in Greater Lyon

20 December 2012

On the one side is the HiKoB start-up: a pure Lyon product straight from the Créalys incubator, specialising in the use of remote measurement using intelligent captors that do not require any energy input. On the other is the Lyon Urban Community: a region for experimentation, favoured during the  INNOV'R® call for permanent projects in support of eco-innovation in Rhône-Alpes. Brought together by complementary ambitions Greater Lyon and Hikob launched the Grizzly experiment on 9 test sites in the Lyon Conurbation on 27th November 2012.

Refining climate forecasts

"Until now clearing roads in winter road had been undertaken on the basis of weather forecasts from Météo-France, explained Isabelle Fontany, an innovation and development engineer working in the Greater Lyon Cleansing Department. These forecasts, based on modelling, will now be added to by data observed in real time which, we hope, will enable us to refine our decision making."

In the long term Greater Lyon hopes that the forecasts and observed data can move closer together and there can be close cooperation with Météo-France.

Without the need for an energy supply, the wireless captor developed by HiKoB, registers the information needed to predict climate phenomena - in this case snow and ice – by sensing temperature and humidity at road level.

Holes, the size of a hen's egg, are made in the road so that an intelligent captor with 10 years of life can be installed. The data measured by the 60 GrizzLY captors at road level is sent using a radio signal to bridging boxes, ideally fixed to the top of traffic lights. At the end of the line a dedicated Internet site records measurement curves: temperature, humidity and the dew point for each of the 9 test sites.

Optimising winter road use

If it is successful the GrizzLY experiment should enable anticipation of road salting measures in winter, the challenge being to lessen the quantity of salt used - and therefore lessening its impact on the natural habitat which is important,  as well as making sure that the work is done in a timely fashion. 

"In winter Greater Lyon sends patrols out day and night. With better data these traffic movements could be optimised and delivered to the critical areas."

At the same time lessening the use of material resources means fewer vehicles on the road, reducing the impact of CO2 emissions.

Supporting partnership flexibility

"Beyond the technical nature of the wireless captors the innovative nature of the project is also in the way it is set up: a cost free partnership agreement which identifies Greater Lyon and HiKoB as co-owners of the R&D data" says  Isabelle Fontany.

While HiKoB can experiment on a life size model to test its captors and boost its business, Greater Lyon is able to find a way to refine the way it operates for less cost and strengthen, with an actual test, its position as a sustainable and smart city.

The tests began on 27th November 2012 and will carry on until April 2014, with the first results expected in March 2013.

Find out more

Innov'R is financing the project with  98,000 € (materials), the Urban Community of Lyon is financing the work on the roads.