London, May 29 : A BBC News report has determined that buses could soon be turned into "mobile sensing platforms" to help reduce traffic and improve road conditions.
To demonstrate the technology, which has been developed by the University of Applied Sciences, Osnabruck, in Germany, and the Institute for Transport Sciences, in Hungary, on-board environmental sensors, cameras and GPS were installed in Berlin buses.
The buses transmitted data wirelessly, over mobile phone networks, wi-fi and Wimax, to traffic control centres.
According to Project co-ordinator Patrice Simon, they were also looking at technology to detect if fights break out on buses.
"The devices are quite small but very powerful, and we could develop software that could analyze images to detect if a fight breaks out on the bus, for example, and automatically alert the police," he said.
The sensor systems could be used to detect fog and ice on the roads, as well as analyzing traffic conditions and giving alerts about smog conditions.
The scientists believe the data could be also used to give motorists automatic warnings of traffic jams, as well as helping control centres respond to dynamic conditions on roads.
"Most large cities, where this type of system would be deployed, already have very extensive camera systems, inductive loops and environmental sensors networks in place to analyse traffic and weather," said Simon.
"But city traffic monitoring authorities involved in the project have told us they consider the information provided by buses as a useful supplement," he added.