Press

Towards the development of automated driving applications for daily traffic 

Team Photo 07 webAthens, 6 May 2015, More than 60 people coming from OEMs, Tier1 suppliers, Research Institutes and Universities are meeting today and tomorrow in Athens, 

Greece withthe opportunity of the General Assembly of the AdaptIVe IP, coordinated by the Volkswagen Group Research. The project develops various automated driving functions for daily traffic by dynamically adapting the level of automation to situation and driver status while legal issues that might impact successful market introduction are also addressed.

During these two days event the 29 project partners will have the opportunity to be informed and thoroughly discuss the first year project developments, the achieved results and plan the next steps for accomplishment of the project’s goals. A number of parallel meetings are also organised focusing on specific issues as Legal aspects and Human factors issues, Evaluation methods and framework as well as all related technical issues and applications.

The General Assembly is being organised by the Institute of Communication and Computer System (ICCS) partner of AdaptIVe and member of its Steering Committee. 

Find the detailed press release here.

Meeting photo 1 web

Reconstruction and REcovery Planning: Rapid and Continuously Updated COnstruction Damage, and Related Needs ASSessment (RECONASS)
Terrorist actions often strike building and civil critical infrastructures of strategic interest, such as government buildings, airports, harbors, bridges, head offices of large corporations. The same buildings and critical infrastructure are often among the facilities damaged in a natural disaster. During such events the above facilities may exceed their functional or structural limits and this can be visible. On the other hand, they can also suffer enormous damage to their capacity without producing any apparent visible signs. Such damage, for instance, in the case of an earthquake, can render the facility incapable of surviving consecutive aftershocks. These aftershocks take place within few hours of the earthquake and can have an intensity of up to 90% of the earthquake intensity.
The post-crisis damage assessment process for constructed facilities is based mainly on on-site inspection by experienced engineers. When the visible signs of damage are not of the kind that points to a definitive damage or non damage state, further analysis is necessary. The problem is compounded by the shortage of experienced inspectors and the inevitable time delay caused by an in-depth structural analysis during which time a conservative position has to be taken and the facility stays closed. This is extremely painful in the case of critical facilities, such as, for instance, buildings necessary for the planning and management of early and full recovery (e.g., the Ministry of the Interior, or civil protection agencies), or hospitals, police and fire stations, bridges and tunnels essential for the passage of emergency vehicles.
In case of large scale events (e.g., an earthquake or regional conflict), recent advances in Information and Communication Technologies, including Earth Observation, can shorten the time for an initial inspection to identify damaged constructed facilities. Still, this is information that is based exclusively on what can be seen from outside the facility and can replace a first, rapid inspection, to quickly screen out the obviously safe and the obviously unsafe facilities, that usually takes some days, but it cannot replace the detailed inspection that follows to provide a more reliable estimate of the structural condition of the facility that takes some weeks.
Recent advances in accurate positioning inside constructed facilities, in smaller, less expensive, lower power wireless sensors and in computation, present the opportunity to combine these developments into the capability to estimate automatically, reliably, in near real-time, the structural condition and damage of monitored building and civil infrastructure following a hazardous event.
In this frame RECONASS aims to provide a monitoring system for constructed facilities that will provide a near real time, reliable, and continuously updated assessment of the structural condition of the monitored facilities after a natural or manmade disaster (e.g., an earthquake or explosive devices), with enough detail to be useful for early and full recovery planning. The above assessment will be seamlessly integrated with automated, near real-time and continuously updated assessment of physical damage, loss of functionality, direct economic loss and needs of the monitored facilities and will provide the required input for the prioritization of their repair.
Still another aim of RECONASS is to provide seamless interoperability among heterogeneous networks to secure that the required information from the monitored facility can reach, in near real-time, the base station even after difficult conditions, such as post-crisis situations (e.g., in a post-earthquake situation).
The detailed monitoring provided in RECONASS is only economical for selected facilities that are essential for response and recovery or facilities that have a high value as a target for terrorist attacks. In case of spatially extended events, in order to assess the physical damage in the whole affected area, the detailed assessment of damage in the monitored facilities will be used for the speedy local calibration of satellite and oblique aerial photography dramatically reducing the required time to inform the post disaster/crisis needs assessment process and provide base data for reconstruction efforts.
All of the above will be part of the RECONASS next generation post-crisis needs assessment tool in regards to construction damage and related needs. This tool will enable fusion of external information, provide international interoperability between the involved units for reconstruction and recovery planning and support the collaborative work between these actors.
RECONASS will have significant social and economic consequences that include:

• Relief organizations, insurers and banks can begin funding restoration efforts at a much earlier date
• Reconstruction activities will start earlier
• It will be easier to obtain international financing soon after the disaster when the disaster is still in the news.
• Emergency response crews will be provided with critical and timely information on damage in monitored facilities so that danger can be pinpointed and emergency response directed with precision.
• Disaster cost will be reduced by preventing monitored structures from collapsing to limit damage to adjacent structures and additional loss of life when explosive devices impact highly populated urban centers.
• Disaster costs will also be reduced when providing shoring to weakened monitored buildings to protect them from the aftershock sequence.
• Safety will be promoted when dangerous monitored buildings or portions thereof will be demolished.
• Knowledge of the structural condition of monitored buildings will reduce likely building-closure durations and consequently business interruption costs.
• Identification of the safe monitored buildings for immediate use will help the government find the physical infrastructure needed to provide essential services.
• Knowing the functionality of hospitals immediately after the disaster will help the government direct injured victims to available hospital capacity.
• RECONASS information to all major recovery stakeholders (in the form that they need it) will help them acquire a common picture of the situation.
• Use of the RECONASS system will provide better situational awareness in case of any disastrous event helping to save lives, environment and culture
• Communication in case of disaster, such as guaranteed by the proposed communication gateway, in addition to helping the recovery efforts, can save lives.
• Early, effective handling of the reconstruction and recovery process will have long term financial repercussions

RECONASS is a project co-funded by the European Commission under FP7 that launched its activities in December 2013.
Apart from the dissemination of the project in the general public, as well as the exchange of information with other projects and organizations the same field work, ICCS is also responsible for the design and realization of the telecommunication solutions that will associate the control system and the data imputation with the central processing and visualizing station. This solution will include innovation of the interoperability of the means and the required resources for realization, providing at the same time a high level of credibility.
The reliable and continuous recording of construction failures through the specific control system, according to the ICCS scientists, can form an effective solution for the confrontation of many problems and to offer significant results, so much for the society as for the economy, as summarized below:

• Repairing activities in case of disasters will start much earlier.
• The emergency crews will have available important information about the condition of the disasters in the facilities.
• The cost of the disasters is expected to decrease, as the collapsing of inclined infrastructure will be avoided on time. In this way the nearby structures will be protected and the security of the citizens in densely populated occasions will be preserved.
• The demolition of facilities will become known faster.
• The knowledge of the normal state of the infrastructures will reduce the time that the buildings will not function as well as the economic loss from the pause of their use.
• There will be immediate evaluation of the situation of critical infrastructures and public buildings (e.g. hospitals, ministries, etc) to be placed faster in the disposal of the authorities when facing crises.
• The use of the RECONASS system will provide improved operational knowledge in case of a disaster.

The RECONASS Press Release can be found here (EN), (GR) as well as in the RECONASS official website http://www.reconass.eu/

An article focusing on AQUAKNIGHT research activities and innovations have been published on ICE news section. The article entitled: "Cooperation Framework towards Efficient Water Resources Management – The AQUAKNIGHT Project" can be found here

 

An article was published for the I-SENSE Research group activities on car-to-car communication technologies in Kathimerini.gr. 

The article can be found here (GR) as well as in the following link: http://www.kathimerini.gr/755273/article/texnologia/computers/epikoinwnia-apo-oxhma-se-oxhma

Several announcements in respect to the ROBINSPECT project research activities have been published in the Greek press:

• Kathimerini.gr, 28 February 2014, ‘Robotic inspection in tunnels from a project which coordinates the National and Technical University of Athens
• SKAI.gr, 28 February 2014, ‘ROBINSPECT, project for the construction of robotic inspection in tunnels’.
• Nooz.gr, 22 March 2014, ‘ROBINSPECT under the coordination of the National and Technical University of Athens’.

FABRIC - "FeAsiBility analysis and development of on-Road chargIng solutions for future electric vehiCles "

Paving the way for large scale deployment of electromobility


A new EU project has launched to promote the large scale deployment of electromobility in Europe focusing on on-road charging solutions.

Over the next four years the €9 million FABRIC integrated project will adress directly the technological feasibility, economic viability and socio-environmental sustainability of dynamic on-road charging of electric vehicles. The project officially launched its activities with the organisation of the consortium kick-off meeting that was held in Athens, Greece from 3 to 5 February 2014 and was hosted by the project coordinator, the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (http://i-sense.iccs.gr). High level representatives from the European Commission, EUCAR and ERTICO have joined the meeting and addressed the 60 participants.
In the pursuit of the decarbonisation of road transportation and mobility, it is widely recognized that electro-mobility, or ‘e-mobility’, i.e. using either fully electric or highly electrified vehicles such as plug-in hybrids, is expected to play a key role. However the key to the future success of e-mobility, particularly from the perspective of the commercial viability of electric vehicles, will be the achievement of large scale acceptance, meaning wide support for innovative, clean mobility solutions by the general public, in addition to the policy makers.
From this perspective, one of the critical parameters for the acceptance of fully electric vehicles relates to the fact that energy storage in batteries still suffers from a number of serious drawbacks such as limited specific energy which causes what is commonly known as “range anxiety” to the driver, and in general limited vehicle range plus long recharging times, which make electro-mobility fully suitable only for urban usage.
In this context, the FABRIC project responds to the need to assess the potential and feasibility of a more extensive integration of electric vehicles in the mobility and transportation system, focusing primarily on dynamic, on-the-go, wireless charging which would allow practically the main drawbacks of on-board battery packs to be avoided.
By engaging a highly-qualified, expert and comprehensive group of key stakeholders within its consortium, FABRIC will collect and assess the end-user requirements that in turn could determine the success potential in various application sectors, the technology drivers and challenges that impact the widespread implementation of wireless charging technology, and the technology gaps to be bridged in order to identify rational and cost-effective solutions for the grid and road infrastructures.
In the framework of the project activities different charging solutions will be assessed from the technological, social and economic point of view to determine the impact of competitive charging technologies. Moreover, FABRIC will implement and test advanced solutions, conceived to enable full integration in the grid and road infrastructure, for application to the wider possible range of future electric vehicles. The systems that will be developed in FABRIC will be tested in test sites in France and Italy to ensure interoperability and validity of the proposed solutions while additional testing of other assessed solutions will take place in Sweden.
The ultimate goal of the FABRIC consortium, which consists of 24 partners from 9 European countries, including OEMs, suppliers and service providers from the automotive, road and energy infrastructure domains and research organisations, is to provide a pivotal contribution to the evolution of e-mobility in Europe by identifying the benefits and costs so that the investments required in the coming years for widespread implementation and exploitation can be identified.

PARTNERS may add here another paragraph (few sentences-no more than 5-6) with their specific work in the project avoiding the use of words like WPs, SPs, tasks etc. and using a descriptive way to present their actually work.

ICCS is the coordinator and technical administrator of the project. At the same time, it is responsible for the dissemination and the projection of the project in the general public as well as for the exchange of data with national and foreign enterprises regarding electrical-movement.
On a technical level, ICCS will monitor the architecture of the system, while it will contribute in the development of the applications for the wireless charging of electrical cars and in the analysis of the interconnection with energy networks. Also, ICCS is the Head of the realization and installation of the subsystem of FABRIC in the foundation and the evaluation of the final system.

The FABRIC Press Release can be found here (EN), (GR) as well as in the FABRIC official website http://www.fabric-project.eu

ROBotic System with Intelligent Vision and Control for Tunnel Structural INSPECTion and Evaluation (ROBINSPECT)

One of the greatest challenges facing engineers today is the inspection, assessment, maintenance and safe operation of the existing civil infrastructure such as, tunnels, bridges, roads, and much more. Due to ageing, environmental factors, increased loading, change in use, damages caused by human/natural factors, inadequate or poor maintenance and deferred repairs, civil infrastructure is progressively deteriorating, urgently needing inspection, assessment and repair work. Nowhere is this need more apparent than in underground transportation tunnels, a large number of which have been in operation for more than half a century and there are widespread signs of deterioration, evidenced by an increase in the proportion of budgets spent on inspection and assessment. Things are bad to the point that there have been a number of collapses in tunnels in recent years which highlighted the need for better ways to inspect and assess tunnel stability of in service tunnels.
Presently, structural tunnel inspection is predominantly performed through tunnel-wide visual observations by inspectors. This process is slow, labour intensive, expensive, subjective and often requires lane shutdown during inspection. In this frame, the ROBINSPECT project is aiming to provide an automated robotic system that in one pass will provide speedily and reliably tunnel inspection and structural assessment.
ROBINSPECT is a project co-funded by the European Commission under FP7 that launched its activities in October 2013 with the organisation of the consortium kick-off meeting that was held in Athens, Greece and hosted by the project coordinator, the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (http://i-sense.iccs.gr). The main objective of ROBINSPECT is to provide an automated, faster (that does not, or only minimally interfere with tunnel traffic) and reliable tunnel inspection and assessment solution that can combine in one pass both inspection and detailed structural assessment. The proposed robotic system will be evaluated at the research infrastructure of VSH in Switzerland, at London Underground and at the tunnels of Egnatia Motorway in Greece.

ROBINSPECT is expected to:
• increase the speed and reliability of tunnel inspections
• provide assessment in addition to inspection
• minimize use of scarce tunnel inspectors while improve the working conditions of such inspectors
• decrease inspection and assessment cost
• increase the safety of passengers
• decrease the time when tunnels are closed for inspection

The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems – (ICCS) is the project and technical manager while at the same time is responsible for the planning and realization of the computer vision system and for the development of semi-supervised learning techniques. ICCS will also work in the frames of the pilot application and control of the completed system and will contribute in the dissemination activities of the project work in the wide public and in the relevant scientific and industrial community.
The “D. Bairaktaris and Associates Ltd.” (DBA) have undertaken the exploitation of the measurement results for the analytic evaluation of static efficiency of tunnels. For this aim, DBA will develop analysis methods both in the places of obvious cracks for the evaluation of local intensive situation and for the whole construction, aiming at the assessment of imposed exterior charge as well as the localization of likely concrete damages- via training and use of suitable special software.
Egnatia Motorway S.A.(EOAE), the company that has studied, manufactured and maintains hundreds of medium and long length twin tunnels of the motorway of EGNATIA Motorway will contribute with its experience in the determination of technical specifications and the whole framework of the robotic inspection system, so that it covers the inspection needs of the currently operational tunnels. The main contribution of the company is to support the conduction of tests of the development robotic systems in three of its road tunnels as well as the evaluation of their results, comparing them with previous results from the conventional methods of inspection that the company follows until today.

 The ROBINSPECT press release can be found here (EN), (GR).