Weeks after Chinese tech company Huawei unveiled its pioneering new smart watch to the world, the city of Hangzhou jumped on the high tech trend with the announcement of its recently developed “smart manhole covers”. Yes, smart manhole covers.
The covers feature anti-theft, shock absorption and noise reduction features and can be tracked with an electronic tag.
A test batch of 100 smart manhole covers will be placed throughout the city’s streets by the end of April, the Hangzhou urban management office told Xinhua.
The move follows a series of other measures taken by Chinese cities to reduce the number of stolen manhole covers. In 2013, it was estimated that over 240,000 manhole covers had been taken and sold as scrap metal in Beijing just within the past 10 years. As a result, the city was reduced to placing more than 1,000 safety nets across open manholes to avoid accidents.
Reports of horrific incidents involving missing or improperly placed manhole covers have added to the urgency of the situation.
Tao Xiaomin from the urban management office said that the smart manhole covers’ anti-theft features can help prevent potential tragedy. “When a cover is moved and the tilt angle is greater than 15 degrees, the tag will send an alarm signal to us,” Tao said, adding that a digital position system installed on the cover would allow it to be located immediately.
The covers are made of ductile iron, the scrap price of which is very low, he added.