Xerox Corporation, headquartered in Norwalk, CT, and with a major research center in Webster, NY, is a multimillion dollar global Fortune 500 corporation best known for the invention of the photocopy machine. Over the last 50+ years Xerox’s research centers have yielded game-changing technologies like the laser printer, copy machine, computer mouse, the computer graphical user interface (GUI), and Ethernet. One of Xerox’s latest ventures is an interest in improving inductive loop detectors (ILDs) for traffic management. Xerox is partnering with researchers at the University at Buffalo to advance their understanding of this technology.
ILDs are increasingly used for vehicle detection to enable efficient traffic management. ILDs consist of conducting loops of wire (coil) embedded in the pavement and connected to detection circuitry. ILDs are typically driven at RF frequencies in a resonant mode and, when ferrous or metallic vehicle components like wheels or axles pass overhead, eddy currents and magnetic fields are generated that couple to the coil and alter its inductance. The change in inductance is detected and registered as a vehicle. A research group led by Dr. Edward Furlani at the University at Buffalo (UB) is working with Xerox scientists based in Webster, NY, to simulate ILD performance under a variety of conditions. Such simulations require large-scale computational models with an extremely fine spatial mesh resolution in order to predict the very small changes in coil inductance that are observed during vehicle motion.
The Xerox scientists in Webster, NY anticipate leveraging this project towards the development and manufacture of next generation ILD devices. This will spur the creation of hundreds of new jobs to design, manufacture, calibrate, test, install, maintain and monitor various ILD systems, both in the laboratory and the real-world. This project could also lead to the placement of UB engineering students in Xerox or other companies with related technology.