Noise pollution, which affects millions of people on a daily basis, can be as harmful to health as air pollution. In cities where people are crowded together, noise comes from a variety of sources, including construction equipment, cars, sirens, air conditioners and loud music, among others.
The most common health problem it causes is noise-induced hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances and stress. These health problems can affect all age groups, especially children.
High decibels can cause not only hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears that comes from inside the body rather than from an outside source). It can also trigger or exacerbate type-2 diabetes, mental health issues, cognition problems, childhood learning delays and low birth weight. Scientists are investigating other possible links including dementia.
The cacophony of sounds can make the source of noise difficult to identify. Now, the Environmental Protection and Innovation, Science and Technology ministries are developing technologies to identify these noise sources using map technologies for the automatic detection of vehicles that produce loud noise. The solutions selected for demonstration will receive support grants totaling NIS 150,000.
City noises are a scourge in Israel
Environmental Protection Ministry Director-General Galit Cohen explained that city noises have become a scourge.
“Our ministry deals with the phenomenon through various means, including the use of advanced technologies designed to increase enforcement and deterrence in this area,” she said. “This can lead to a significant reduction in the scope of hazards and contribute to improving the quality of life of the public in cities. I welcome the cooperation with the Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry and working together with the public to formulate solutions to existing problems,” she said.
Permitted noise levels are based on noise-prevention standards as detailed in the traffic regulations. Today, however, in the absence of automatic technology to detect and identify noise hazards from vehicles, enforcement is complex and requires manpower-intensive operations, and is therefore not an effective long-term solution. As a result, a technological solution is required for the detection and identification of vehicles that cause noise above a defined level.
The two ministries are publishing a new platform and challenge to entrepreneurs and businesses, with the target of reducing noise from vehicles through automatic detection and identification. The challenge, published on the National Challenge website at challenge.gov.il, encourages innovation processes in government ministries and other bodies.
The challenge calls on entrepreneurs and businesses to demonstrate solutions that could make possible the identification and detection of abnormally noisy vehicles under different conditions of visibility (day, night and fog), and in any weather. The Environmental Protection Ministry will allocate NIS 150,000 to three proposals that will be selected for demonstration.
The technological solutions must address both the detection of noise that exceeds the permitted noise level and the accurate identification of noisy vehicles among the vehicles on the road.
Innovation, Science and Technology Ministry Director-General Hilla Haddad Chmelnik, who holds a space and an aeronautical engineering degree from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, said, “When innovation and the environment meet, the entire public benefits. The National Challenges website is a key tool in promoting innovation processes in the government ministries, and the solutions that will come from the entrepreneurs to identify noise hazards from vehicles are expected to provide an answer to a critical challenge for the benefit of public health. The disclosure of this governmental challenge to the industry will be able to provide a response while harnessing the speed and capabilities of private industry for public governmental needs and the benefit of the citizen.”
“When innovation and the environment meet, the entire public benefits. The National Challenges website is a key tool in promoting innovation processes in the government ministries, and the solutions that will come from the entrepreneurs to identify noise hazards from vehicles are expected to provide an answer to a critical challenge for the benefit of public health. The disclosure of this governmental challenge to industry will be able to provide a response while harnessing the speed and capabilities of private industry for public governmental needs and the benefit of the citizen.”Hila Haddad Chmelnik
In recent years, noise from vehicles has become a hazard in the urban and interurban environment, especially when unauthorized modifications are made to motorcycle engines or exhaust systems.
An online meeting for the public interested in the challenge will be held on Sunday, January 8, at 4 p.m. To register for the webinar, go to: bit.ly/3UHaB27. The last date for submitting solutions to the challenge is Sunday, February 12, 2023. For more details or to submit a proposal, go to: did.li/9qirl.