Rewarding Innovation

awardsCelebrating innovation is at the centre of CIWM’s Sustainability and Resource Awards. Last year two projects stood out from the competition, each winning in their respective categories: the Best Innovation in Vehicle, Equipment, Plant and Facilities Award; and the Award for Demonstrating Project Innovation, as CIWM’s Darrel Moore discovered…

The Best Innovation in Vehicle, Equipment, Plant and Facilities Award is open to plant or facilities operators and manufacturers of vehicles, equipment or plant, and must highlight innovative aspects of design and deliver wider benefits. The Award for Demonstrating Project Innovation celebrates innovation within a resource or waste management project, and must show innovation that is beneficial to the organisation, community or sector.

Vision Techniques

Vision-Tech-award-winVision Techniques secured the winning spot in the Best Innovation in Vehicle, Equipment, Plant and Facilities Award at last year’s Sustainability and Resource Awards for its cyclist safety TurnAware system.

In 2013, the company began researching cyclist safety and what technology was in the marketplace to help prevent accidents involving HGV and LGV vehicles.

HGV’s were recognised by a spate of media reports in the capital as being “unfit for inner city driving”, Vision Techniques says, as there was an unprecedented six cyclist deaths within a two week period that year. This then led to the implementation of cyclist safety initiatives – CLOCS – and the safer lorry scheme.

The statistics Vision Techniques compiled around the issue revealed that every year in the UK 19,000 cyclists were killed or injured in road accidents, of which two-thirds happen at or near a road junction. 75 percent of fatal or serious accidents occurred in urban areas and in collisions involving a bicycle and a vehicle the most common factor recorded by police is “failing to look properly” by both driver and rider, specifically at junctions. Possibly the most worrying, Vision Technique commented, was the fact that 20 percent of all cyclist fatalities involve a HGV when turning left at a junction.

In response to this, Vision Techniques provided cyclist safety systems, including mountable alarm units that heighten cyclist awareness when turning left or right, as well as detection systems so that the driver is aware of the cyclists’ presence.

It does this using ultrasonic technology based on the same sensor units you might find in your car. When reversing into a parking space, ultrasonics use a form of sonar technology to bounce waves of radar back and forth to locate objects within the sensors range.

The problem with this, and any form of ultrasonic detection, is that the sensors are unable to recognise the difference between a cyclist, pedestrian, traffic light or garden fence – anything within range of the sensor will be detected, warning the driver of its findings.

This always leads to the same outcome, the company says – namely driver frustration, an overload of alarms and warnings in the cab that can actually makes driving harder for the driver.

A solution to this problem required a system that could effectively recognise when a cyclist approaches the vehicle, whilst ignoring objects that are not causing any danger to the driver.

Vision-TechTo do this, Vision Techniques took advantage of a brand new emerging technology developed to detect movement – video analytics. Putting it simply, an external central processing unit (CPU) is installed that connects to the camera unit that can “read” movement through the camera lens. The CPU looks for heavy pixel change within an area at specific speeds and direction and depending on the system’s editable sensitivity settings, will report pixel changes as a “detection”.

As the system is able to recognise the direction in which pixel density is shifting – or which way objects are moving within the frame of the camera – this system can effectively detect an approaching danger whilst ignoring objects moving in the other direction. Therefore, if you were driving forwards, objects moving right and away from the vehicle are ignored whilst objects moving left and towards the vehicle are detected.

With this in mind, the company mounted one of its highest quality wide-angle cameras onto the left-hand blind spot of a HGV and set the detection zone within the vehicles blind spot with left-hand detection.

Since then it has run multiple tests under several unique driving conditions across a large range of vehicles and have documented the detection rates on multiple videos available online, as well as a series of case studies.

A Vision Techniques spokesperson said: “Winning a CIWM Award is a huge deal for us as it’s an industry recognised achievement, giving our safety systems a seal of approval from our peers and industry professionals.

“Winning the Vehicle, Plant and Machinery award gives us confirmation that our safety systems continue to deliver innovation that can save lives and help make the municipal industry a safer place to work.”

Dixons Carphone & DHL EnviroSolutions

DHL-Know-HowDixons Carphone and DHL EnviroSolutions took home the Award for Demonstrating Project Innovation for their project that helps deprived families in the UK receive quality second-hand white goods. It works with the charitable organisation Furniture Reuse Network (FRN) on a national level to provide pre-used goods in large quantities to local FRN groups on a regional basis.

DHL’s EnviroSolutions business provides waste management, recycling, backhaul and reuse solutions for Dixons Carphone and has helped improve the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) reuse and recycling solution for the Dixons Carphone estate, which includes 16 customer service centres, one national distribution centre and 479 Currys and PC World stores.

As part of its delivery service for new goods, Dixons Carphone collects the used products from customers when they have a new one delivered, and all customers have the choice to drop off any electrical items of at a Currys PC World store, such as such as washing machines and fridge freezers.

The aim was to move Dixons Carphone WEEE programme up the hierarchy of waste by increasing the amount of waste that it reused rather than recycled – it went from zero at the beginning of 2014 to 10 percent over a two-year period.

DHL worked with various reuse organisations at Dixons Carphone depots to develop a programme that aimed at providing good quality, used products to communities and families in need; FRN is a lead partner in the operation.

Dixons Carphone commenced the project with DHL Envirosolutions in February 2014. Its KNOWHOW brand collects used products from customers and returns them to the depots. DHL manages the reuse and subsequent WEEE recycling programmes on Dixons Carphone’s behalf, ensuring quality and compliance is met.

DHL-FRNThe FRN then visits the depots to sort through returned product and identifies items that can be reused. These are collected by FRN, then apprentice electricians (supervised by qualified electricians) repair products ready for onward delivery to community organisations and families in need. Any products that are not suitable for reuse are placed into the WEEE recycling programme managed by DHL.

The scheme provides quality white goods to deprived areas and families receiving government vouchers for WEEE goods, as well as providing apprenticeships and work for people who might have otherwise struggled to enter employment.

In a 12-month period over 30,000 units have been reused by the FRN and this is likely to increase over time, the companies say. Without this service many families would not have access to white goods under a reuse scheme.

The regional distribution of the Dixons Carphone depots ensures that local FRN groups can have access to goods locally, which also reduces transport mileage and subsequent CO2 emissions that would otherwise be generated.

“DHL and Dixons Carphone are delighted to have won the CIWM Award for Demonstrating Product Innovation,” a spokesperson for the companies said. “The project was a first for all parties involved, so we are pleased that the hard work of the teams has paid off to achieve a real, positive impact on society and the environment.

“In today’s business landscape, having a positive social and environmental impact is increasingly important. It is therefore vital that businesses that succeed in these areas are celebrated so that others are encouraged to follow in their footsteps.”


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