Smart Lamppost To Warn When Costa Beach Is Crowded

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorMichael LeidigAgencyNewsflash

Smart lampposts fitted with artificial intelligence are being set up alongside this beach in the Costa del Sol to warn tourists when beaches are getting too full and to avoid overcrowding.

The beach in the popular tourist city of Fuengirola, in the southern Spanish province of Malaga in the Andalusia region is reportedly the first in Spain to have the Artificial Intelligence (AI) system installed to help control capacity in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Special scanners constantly monitor the situation on the beach, and then informs the tourists of availability via a mobile phone app.

The system designed by a Spanish company called Juma is being installed on lampposts alongside the beach and is expected to be put in place across the municipality’s coastline.

AI sensors are placed on the lampposts and a programme then divides the beach into virtual squares between the sensors which measure the levels of people entering and leaving the beach at all times.

The sensors would work in conjunction with the free mobile phone application which can tell the user how packed each area of the beach is in real-time.

The application uses a traffic-light system, with green meaning an area is fine to enter, orange meaning an area has reached 75 percent of its capacity, and red meaning an area has reached its capacity.

Carlos Moreno, the director of the company which created the system said between 40 and 50 sensors would be needed for the seven kilometres (four miles) of beaches in the city.

The AI system could also be used in other areas where people gather like shopping centres or event venues.

Ana Mula, the Mayor of Fuengirola, said that with the easing of lockdown restrictions people will begin to gather in certain areas but “we should guarantee safe conditions for everybody.”

She said the system will be used as soon as the authorities open the beach back up to the public, which is expected to happen in Phase 3 of the country’s easing of restrictions, which is due to come into place on 8th June in most provinces.

According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Spain has registered 228,691 cases of COVID-19 and 27,104 deaths.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.