Intelligent Street Lights

The Detroit News:

It’s like an iPhone in the form of a streetlight.

That’s how inventor Ron Harwood described his Intellistreets poles Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony launching the innovative technology.

The modern poles use LED lights that can be dimmed at all hours of the day, cutting down on energy costs. They also have digital signs that can be updated instantly by mobile devices through a “mesh network.”

Police or fire officials can update the signage if there’s an emergency, and city officials can post information about farmers markets or other local events. People can also make emergency calls on the pole with a push-to-talk system.

“As you’re cutting back police officers, this gives them some eyes and ears to be available,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township. “I think that most citizens like the fact that if they’re in a situation that is a potential threat to them, they want authorities to be able to respond to them immediately.”

The poles start at $3,000 apiece, but can cost hundreds or thousands more depending on the features, Harwood said. Farmington Hills used a $30,000 energy grant to buy the equipment for the streetlights and Illuminating Concepts donated the installation costs, Harwood said.

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