Li-fi…coming to a bus near you

YOU WAIT ages for a compelling application for Li-fi and then two come at once: planes and buses.

The technology uses a line-of-sight connection that gives passengers their own secure Li-fi network, instead of having to share radio waves with other travellers. Infrared light is used so the system works in any lighting condition.

Last month Signify trialled the data-over-light technology on an Air France Airbus jet and now it’s proposing to bring the experience to bus passengers.

It’s partnered up with the Italian maker of bus interiors Ellamp to bring its Trulifi internet connectivity to public transport.

Trulifi will initially give passengers more personal control over the facilities in the bus, including the air conditioning and light levels for their seat, but also the ordering of catering.

‘We’re on the verge of a new era of connectivity,’ Signify chief innovation officer Olivia Qiu told Lux.

‘Imagine having reliable, secure and fast connectivity, wherever there is light. That is the promise of Trulifi. The ability to provide people with the same high-quality and secure connectivity experience whether they’re aboard a bus, train, airplane or on the ground.’

The pilot with Ellamp will explore whether the wiring of the control and media systems can be simplified by connecting the individual media players using LiFi.

At a later stage, when telecommunications providers enable broadband support to moving vehicles, passengers will also be able to connect their own devices to the Internet via Trulifi.

The Trulifi systems are stable as the signal is not impacted by movements of the bus.

The technology uses a line-of-sight connection that gives passengers their own secure Li-fi network, instead of having to share radio waves with other travellers. Infrared light is used so the system works in any lighting condition.

‘We’re excited to work with Signify and improve the travel experience of passengers of our buses,’ said Massimo Ottino, CEO at Ellamp.

‘The ability to provide bus companies with the technology that helps passengers to connect to media, and hands them personal control and Internet services on buses, will significantly strengthen our market position.’

Last month, Signify announced a partnership with Latécoère, a French tier 1 partner that provides Aerostructure and Interconnection systems to major international aircraft manufacturers, to develop Li-fi systems in commercial airplanes.

In airplanes, Trulifi will be used to connect media players in the headrests to the aircraft’s communication systems, providing passengers with a robust and fast wireless connection that doesn’t interfere with sensitive equipment and isn’t affected by the airplane’s movements.

Being wireless, it also results in less cabling, and together with an infrastructure upgrade to low-weight fibre solutions, will reduce the airplane’s weight and fuel usage.

In the future, passengers will also be able to connect their personal devices to the onboard media and Internet.

Signify launched its Trulifi systems earlier this year and has installed more than 100 projects worldwide.

Trulifi combines energy-efficient LED lighting with a reliable, secure and high-speed two-way wireless connection, with speeds of up to 250 Mbps for the downlink and the uplink.

It’s understood that passengers will have to insert a USB transceiver dongle into their devices to access the internet.