Cidaut’s occupants monitoring solutions

It seems obvious that driving automation needs new capabilities from the vehicle, lots of sensors have to be integrated to understand what is happening around, short and long range communication systems have to be developed to understand what is happening a little bit further, but, what about the occupants and their safety?

In the frame of Integra project, Cidaut is taking care of the occupants and their safety by modifying the design of the vehicle interior in accordance to the new needs. The first step is to know what is happing inside, with a webcam the occupants are recorded and thanks to the artificial intelligence the information is immediately processed to get relevant information. The functionalities developed by now include, the recognition of the occupant, the counting of flickers and yawns along time, the inclination of the head, the direction of the glance and the position and distance of the body. By processing all this information it is possible to know the alertness level of the driver and the position of all the occupants.

The alertness level is relevant for both standard and automated driving. In the case of the standard driving, the system can detect drowsiness, distraction or illness and alert the driver and/or the rest of the users of the road of this circumstance. In the case of the automated driving, mainly at level 3, it will be possible to alternate the responsibility of the driving between the vehicle and the driver. When the vehicle needs to take over the driving responsibility to the human, it has to be sure that the driver is ready to assume the control of the vehicle, thanks to the application developed it is easy to make this transition in a safety way.

The position of the occupants is also critical for their safety. The high automated levels of driving, mainly 3, 4 and 5, will allow the occupants to take positions inside the vehicle different from standardized ones. In these positions the usual restrain systems are unable to protect the occupants in a proper way. Attending to this, it is necessary to develop new restrain systems  suitable for the driving scenarios linked to the automated position and it is also necessary to monitor the occupants position in order to activate the new restrains systems in the most suitable manner attending to the kind of collision, the biometric characteristics of the occupant, and the position.

The work driving to these results is been performed in INTEGRA project, funded by and CDTI through Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación in the frame of the funding for Excellence in Research Centers “Cervera”. CER – 2021 1031.

Cidaut presents research and development projects’ results at SAHE

In the frame of SAHE, Hybrid and Electric Automotive Show, celebrated in Valladolid from the 22nd to the 24th of April, Cidaut has presented its last innovations related to sustainable mobility and intelligent transport.

At Cidaut’s booth, it was possible to see and touch two of the prototypes development in the last research and development projects carried out by the technological center. The first one was a crash test prototype that had been tested according to Regulation 94 homologation, in the frontal part of the vehicle the consequences of the crash were still visible. The rest of the vehicle has been repaired in order to shortly make an additional lateral pole crash test. Inside the vehicle, in the driving position, a crash test dummy was seated in order to make this testing tool familiar to the visitors. Most of the youngest assistants to the show were surprised and happy to see and touch the dummy while very few were surprised or scared.

The second prototype was a functional extra-light and safe urban electric vehicle. The interior of this prototype was monitored with a simple webcam and thanks to the application of artificial vision solutions, the vehicle was able to determine the position of the occupants, the direction of their glance, the number of flickers and yawns, and the alertness level of the driver. This solution will be applied to avoid unattended driving in automated driving scenarios, but also in standard driving conditions. The vehicle was open for the visitors to come in and test the performance of the monitoring systems. Again the youngest visitors were the ones who enjoyed the most the technological advances. Great to know the interest of youngest attendants in innovative solutions.

BIONANOPOLYS Project – Accelerating the introduction of biobased nano-enabled materials into the market

The Bionanopolys project (https://www.bionanopolys.eu/) continues to progress towards the objective of creating a network of pilot plants dedicated to the production of nanocomposites for sectors such as automotive, packaging and textile.

The consortium of Bionanopolys met for the 2nd Executive board meeting, hosted by project coordinator, at 22nd/ 23rd March 2022. The aim of the meeting was to share the successful updates of the different WPs through the Tasks leaders within each WPs.

On the other hand, Bionanopolys network extends across Europe and intends to build up a strong community on the development of safe nano-enabled bio-based materials. From March to June 2022, the national Bionanopolys stakeholder events take place.

To analyse how companies can benefit from the development of these materials and the implementation of the other services of the project, Spanish workshop was organised on 29 March. In this event, it was shown the network of pilot plants that CIDAUT makes available to the project and to the further Open Innovation Test Bed.

Recycled fire-resistant materials in the CREATOR project

The high volumes of plastic waste – for example from construction and demolition, aeronautics and electronics – pose a huge economic and environmental challenge. Although the best option would be to recycle and reuse, the cost of collecting, sorting and purifying these materials is often too high, so they are disposed of by burning, landfill or by “downcycling“, i.e. reuse in low-value products.

A specific problem is that many plastic materials contain hazardous flame retardants, such as bromine. These flame retardants were used in countless products from the 1970s onwards, but have since been banned across the EU because they can remain in the environment for years, accumulating to toxic levels.

Since 2019, the partners in CREATOR are developing a new purification process for waste material, using so-called continuous extraction technologies (supercritical CO2 and eutectic solvents in twin-screw extruders). CREATOR covers the whole value chain, starting with the collecting of thermoplastic waste streams from construction and waste electrical and electronic equipment.

The project implements ways to collect secondary raw materials, identify the presence of hazardous flame retardants, remove these contaminants from the materials and finally reuse the materials in similar applications to its original markets and also in other applications. This will convert waste into valuable raw materials, generating benefits for waste collection and sorting companies and recyclers, and reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment.

In this process CIDAUT is working on the analysis of the improvement of the fire resistance of recycled plastic material by using environmentally friendly flame retardant additives.

If you would like more information about the project, please visit https://creatorproject.eu/

After the COVID impasse, numerous hydrogen events are being organised with the participation of CIDAUT

It seems that the desire to share experiences and knowledge about hydrogen has not diminished during this time. After the break caused by the pandemic, events related to hydrogen are stronger than ever and occupy a relevant place. In this sense, CIDAUT has had the opportunity to attend several of those that have already taken place and those that are coming soon.

The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Spanish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Platform (PTE HPC) was held on 29th April, in which CIDAUT was present. The aim of this Assembly was to ratify a series of changes in the focus and orientation of the Platform with a view to the new Call for Technology Platforms 2023-2024 and to inform the attending members, through the participation of three public bodies, about the open or upcoming calls of interest for the hydrogen sector.

Experts from more than 40 companies analysed the levers of renewable hydrogen on 30 March in Gasnam. José Ignacio Domínguez attended this session representing CIDAUT and all of attendees agreed that hydrogen can contribute to Spain reaching its climate objectives, although it will be necessary to break down some barriers. They talked about increasing the intensity of the funding included in the national calls for proposals and removing some obstacles, such as, for example, receiving funding against final certification. The need to categorise the project as R&D&I by a certifier, to extend the object of the subsidy to network injection projects and to blending in combustion engines was also mentioned. The need to develop a regulatory framework that allows renewable hydrogen to be treated as a fuel of general interest and not just as a mere chemical product was discussed. Another of the barriers discussed was that the injection of hydrogen into the grid is a necessary lever, and therefore the implementation of real experiences to validate the technology should be promoted. Among other barriers, the urgency of the implementation of the Guarantees of Origin mechanism for renewable gases was also mentioned.

Last 4th of May a Practical Workshop on the PERTE on Energy, Renewable Hydrogen and Storage (PERTE ERHA) took place in CIDAUT. In this workshop, representatives of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) through IDAE (Santiago González Herráiz) and CIUDEN (Miguel Angel Delgado) informed about the recent PERTE ERHA call. On behalf of CIDAUT, Jose Ignacio Dominguez made a presentation about the Future of H2 technologies and CIDAUT’s developments and Alvaro Villarino presented the Centratec3 Programme. The event was held both in person and online and was followed by more than 30 regional entities, which indicates the interest in this topic. 

Last but not least, the European Hydrogen Energy Conference (EHEC 2022) will be held in Madrid on 18, 19 and 20 May. This conference is the European conference of reference in the field of hydrogen energy. EHEC was identified in Spain’s 2020 Hydrogen Roadmap as one of the measures to position Spain as a benchmark for these technologies in Europe. EHEC provides an excellent framework for upgrading hydrogen energy technologies. It will bring together the latest advances in research and business related to hydrogen.

On this edition, CIDAUT will participate with two oral presentations and a poster. Additionally, CIDAUT will be part of the Side Event organised by the Spanish Hydrogen Technology Platform, which will be attended by Jose Ignacio Dominguez. Miguel Castaños will speak on “Multi-zone thermodynamic model for the design of piston compressors for hydrogen at high pressures” and Elena Castilla will present on “Analysis of the integration of bioethanol production plants with bioethanol steam reforming processes to produce hydrogen”. The poster by Marcos Sánchez will deal with “Effect of air temperature on steady-state ammonia combustion by diffusion”.