US Patent awarded for improved magnetometer vehicle detector

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The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has awarded a US Patent for a widely-used electro-magnetic wireless vehicle detector. The Trafficware Group has received US Patent 8,855,902 B2 for its Valence Pod detection system. The patent was awarded for technology and method improvements to wireless magnetometer detection, including innovations in antennae, power management, and enclosure design, which result in the superior performance of the system. Along with a previous patent exclusively licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (US 6,662,099),as well as other patents pending at the PTO, the new patent helps enhance the intellectual property surrounding the technology behind the Pod.

The Pod system works by sensing the disturbances in the earth’s magnetic field that occur due to the presence of a car or motorcycle, and its algorithms interpret this disruption to characterize it into meaningful and reliable data. The main innovations covered in the new patent include: unique antenna design allowing for 900MHz frequency, physically horizontal orientation (low profile), and hollow interior; enclosure and antenna design allowing for a larger, more powerful battery to be housed in a rugged, compact case; use of a hybrid layer capacitor with battery that increases transmit power ,while extending battery life: and power management that matches transmit power to signal strength, thereby conserving energy and extending battery life. The pod transmits data to the other components of the Valence system: the mast-arm or pole-mounted Access Point, which provides two-way wireless communication between up to three Pods and the Base Station, located in the intersection control cabinet.

“The resultant increased range and more robust communication from our approach to magnetometer detection allows for a simplified system that does not need or use repeaters, and communicates much better through moisture and around obstacles,” explained Darren Beyer, chief technology officer at Trafficware. “Even with this superior performance, the Pod still has a 10-year battery life, which we believe will be compelling to the market.” Jon Newhard, Trafficware’s CEO, commented, “We appreciate the vote of confidence from the US PTO, but the real vote of confidence comes from the scores of customers who have deployed the Pod and have raved about its performance. With recent approvals from TXDOT and FDOT, we expect adoption of this innovative product to continue to grow quickly, particularly for customers for whom detection matters, as well as a desire to partner with a company that continually reinvests in product innovation.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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