Airbus and the World Bank have signed a
Memorandum of Understanding to develop SmartBus, an innovative
geospatial monitoring pilot project.
Connected buses will gather
and transmit information in real time about the state of the
national road network, as well as enabling communication with
areas isolated due to natural disasters. It will also study the
use of new technologies to provide internet access in rural areas.
The initiative, supported by the Ministry of Transport and
Communications of Peru (MTC), will be developed on the Andean road
route between the capital city Lima, on the Pacific Coast, and
cities located at the edge of the jungle and low Amazonian jungle.
Scientific data gathered will
make it possible to map one of the most rugged – and busiest –
sections of the country’s transport network, crossing the highest
paved road in the central Andes, Ticlio, at a height of 4,818
metres above sea level.
Alberto Rodríguez, Director of the
World Bank for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, said, “It will
only be possible to maintain growth in the coming decade if our
countries invest in development of human resources and scientific
capabilities. This pilot project aims to achieve this very goal,
connecting people in an extremely difficult geographical region of
Peru and helping them to identify problems and possible solutions
relating to road safety, meteorology and transport logistics. By
connecting people and their problems with research centres,
universities and leading technological companies, the project is
making a tangible contribution to development.”
The first phase of the project will involve
installation of satellite antennas and sensors on various
commercial buses covering the 742 km coast-mountain-jungle route.
The data gathered by these devices will be complemented by
satellite images provided by the Peruvian Space Agency (CONIDA),
one of the entities collaborating on the SmartBus project.
second phase will involve the organisation of a hackathon in Lima
from 15 to 17 February 2019, which will bring together engineers,
developers and students from across Peru to work on the
development of innovative digital services and solutions using the
information gathered by these sensors.
The project will allow
measurement of the impact of innovative technological solutions
such as: access to new connectivity models; systematisation of
data gathered via wireless applications for the monitoring of
infrastructure and maintenance of road networks; and the updating
of information relevant to business activities at a local level.
Christophe Roux, Head of Airbus Defence and Space in Latin America
said, “The support shown by Peruvian institutions is also proof of
Peru’s strong interest in technological innovation. Airbus is
committed to supporting this development, especially taking into
account that Digital Transformation is at the heart of our growth
There is a major gap in Peru between urban and rural areas in
terms of internet access. According to the Peruvian National Institute of Statistics (INEI), for every 100 households, 56.7
have internet access in the metropolitan area of Lima, 32.5 in
other urban areas, and only 1.3 in rural areas (INEI, 2018). This
pilot project will allow real-time access to meteorological and
transport information, helping to mitigate the impact of recurring
flooding on the local infrastructure and economy and promote
adequate measures to prevent accidents and improve road safety.
SmartBus is one of the digital inclusion programmes currently
being deployed by the World Bank with support from the Digital
A number of companies are working
together with Airbus, the MTC and the World Bank to implement the
project. Kymeta and Aventior (both from the USA), Terabee (France)
and the Peruvian companies TEPSA and Lequi Peru are all providing
resources, together with the digital workshop Fab Lab Lima, the
local branch of the Fab Foundation international network. The
National University of Engineering is also participating in SmartBus through its Faculty of Civil Engineering and the National
Telecommunications Research and Training Institute (INICTEL-UNI).
Furthermore, the following stakeholders are taking part in this
project through the Digital Development Partnership: Microsoft,
GSMA, Finland, South Korea, Japan, UK and Denmark.